United have now slumped to consecutive defeats on the road following last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s loss at Chelsea Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and in both games their midfield has looked fragile.
Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick endured a torrid 90 minutes at Anfield, where they were dominated by Liverpool trio Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard and Raul Meireles.
Scholes has been a wonderful servant for United but the 36-year-old is fading, and Ferguson desperately needs a creative midfielder to act as the linchpin between attack and defence in the centre of the field.
Carrick, who joined from Tottenham for Ã‚Â£18m in 2006, too often slides into anonymity and lacks the ability to stamp any kind of authority on a match.
Darron Gibson, meanwhile, has yet to prove himself as a contender to fill ScholesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s boots.
The 23-year-old Republic of Ireland international, who has only made nine league appearances this season, has been unable to cement a place in Ferguson’s side and looks unlikely to be the man to drive United forward as Scholes edges closer to retirement.
Another cause of UnitedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s midfield malady is FergusonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s failure to bring in an adequate replacement for former captain Roy Keane.
Darren Fletcher has gradually grown into his role as UnitedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s holding midfielder since KeaneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s exit in 2005, but despite possessing grit and tenacity in abundance he lacks the IrishmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s world class ability.
Anderson is yet to fulfil his potential since arriving at Old Trafford with great promise in 2007 and Owen HargreavesÃ¢â‚¬â€who went some way towards filling the void left by Keane in his first season with UnitedÃ¢â‚¬â€has seen his career brought to a stuttering halt by a string of knee injuries.
If Ferguson intends to leave a squad capable of winning trophies behind when he eventually steps down at Old Trafford, finding worthy replacements for Keane and Scholes is key.
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