Charlie Nicholas: New Man United signing will prove difference v Liverpool

The former Arsenal playmaker singles out Eric Bailly as the key man for Manchester United

Charlie Nicholas believes Eric Bailly will prove to be Manchester United’s saviour or villain against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday night.

The Ivory Coast international moved to the 20-time English champions in a £30m deal from La Liga side Villarreal in the summer transfer window as the centre-half became Jose Mourinho’s first signing as United manager.

Bailly established a promising centre-half partnership with Daley Blind in their opening four Premier League games before he was placed alongside England international Chris Smalling for a 3-1 defeat by Watford.

Former Arsenal playmaker Nicholas believes the African defender will prove to be United’s key man against Liverpool when Mourinho’s squad make the short trip to Anfield on Monday night.

“Well I would be saying Jose Mourinho but in terms of on the pitch, in principle Liverpool are the best team but I think Eric Bailly is one that could be a saviour or make a crucial mistake,” Bailly told Sky Sports.

“He is so rough and so raw but with great pace, which gets you out of a lot of problems. I’ve been watching him for two years at Villarreal and he hasn’t really improved that much.

“The decision making will gradually get there under Mourinho’s guidance and he’s got so much to take on board. These might be the type of games where he stands up and proves himself or he could easily be the man who makes a rash decision in the penalty box.”

Liverpool are in fourth place in the Premier League table and two points behind leaders Manchester City.

The Red Devils are two points adrift of Jurgen Klopp’s side in sixth place after a return of 13 points from a possible 18.

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United drew 1-1 with Stoke City in their most-recent Premier League fixture.

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