Harry Maguire has announced that he will no longer be the captain of Manchester United.
The news came from one of Liverpool’s bitter rivals on Sunday afternoon, when Manchester United’s Harry Maguire announced that he would be removed as club captain.
The England international had held the bracelet for three and a half years. But since the arrival of Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford, opportunities for Maguire to wear it on his sleeve have become scarce due to injuries and a fall from favour.
The United manager has made some key decisions in his first year in England, such as the famous sending off of Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of his move to Saudi Arabia in January, and now choosing to strip Maguire of his title.
The 30-year-old expressed deep disappointment with the decision but was grateful for the opportunity, taking to Twitter to reveal his situation.
“Following discussions with the manager today he has informed me that he is changing captain,” Maguire tweeted.
“He explained his reasons to me and although I am personally extremely disappointed, I will continue to give my best every time I wear the shirt.
“I wanted to say a big thank you to the Manchester United fans for their incredible support while I’m wearing the armband. Since the day I took over three and a half years ago, it’s been a huge privilege to lead Manchester United and one of the proudest moments of my career to date.
“I did everything I could to help United succeed – on and off the pitch. I will always be grateful to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for giving me the responsibility in the first place and wish the best of luck to all who take it up now.”
Watching on from the opposite end of the M62, the situation opens up numerous avenues of discussion when thinking how could this benefit Liverpool?
Big changes, especially now that preparations for the season are already underway, are usually cause for celebration. Any chance they have a conversation in the dressing room of a potential title rival exposes a potential weakness, which runs into another campaign.
Other rivals are hoping for the same, except for two major factors.
The first and easiest to reveal is will this ever turn out to be a setback? Maguire has had and will have limited options under Ten Hag and although he has friends in the dressing room, a regular and well-known leader will serve a greater purpose on the pitch.
Secondly, is there an advantage when most of the other rivals – including perhaps Jurgen Klopp’s men – are in the same situation?
Manchester City could not agree on a new contract with captain Ilkay Gündogan, which is why he left the club. Chelsea have allowed captain Cesar Azpilicueta to leave on a free transfer with one year left on his contract, while Tottenham Hotspur are awaiting the departure of eight-year-old captain Hugo Lloris.
And then there’s Liverpool, whose future as captain Jordan Henderson remains uncertain amid a £700,000-a-week contract offer from Saudi Pro-League club Al Ettifaq.
The only member of the Big Six without this problem at the moment is Arsenal, who have pushed their system to the limit in recent years by managing the situations of Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Liverpool’s share of all this therefore depends on Henderson’s decision, but talk within the top six suggests an interesting Premier League season ahead.