Manchester United could yet make Liverpool FC regret £55 million decision

Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount celebrate the FA Cup win over LiverpoolBruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount celebrate the FA Cup win over Liverpool
Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount celebrate the FA Cup win over Liverpool
Liverpool FC were keen on a move for him but he chose to sign for Man Utd last summer instead

It is not beyond the realms of plausibility that Mason Mount could have been arriving at Old Trafford later today in the away dressing room rather than the home one.

Liverpool supporters will insist they haven’t missed out on much after they added Dominik Szoboszlai and Ryan Gravenberch to their squad last summer, but there was a very realistic chance of them signing Mount instead.

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Jurgen Klopp had initially identified both Mount and Alexis Mac Allister as his top two midfield targets, but it quickly became apparent that the former preferred the idea of a move to Old Trafford, while Liverpool were also unwilling to match his price-tag.

Mount will always be judged by the enormous £55 million fee that accompanied his move to United last summer, but over the past week he has started to show some indication that he could eventually justify it.

In the modern football climate he will also be judged by the goal contributions he collects. Mount finally netted his first United goal at Brentford last weekend, but most impressive was his cameo at Stamford Bridge in midweek. He didn’t score or assist, or even end up on the winning side. Yet he did exactly what Klopp and Erik ten Hag both love from a midfield player.

The 25-year-old was calm and clever in possession of the ball, coping well with the hostile atmosphere and abuse targeted at him by the boisterous home crowd. He was the archetypal pantomime villain, though had United held on he would have been the knight in shining armour instead.

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It can’t be ignored that sizeable improvement is still required and Ten Hag has even said himself that Mount must prove his fitness first before he can even start to think about holding down a regular role in the squad. The former Chelsea man returned from a four-month lay-off with a muscular injury against Liverpool last month and it is still nearly five months since he started a match in the Premier League.

"He's a fantastic football player but it's important first that he is getting and keeping fit," Ten Hag stressed earlier in the week. "Because he has had three injuries. "You see it now with Licha, another injury. So you want to avoid and we have to do this carefully. This is the first objective: to keep him fit. We want to use him [so] that he can benefit and contribute to the team like he did on Saturday when he had a big impact."

It would still be a surprise if Mount were to start against his former admirers later today, but it seems certain he will feature from the bench at the very least. Both sides were fond of him because of his versatility and the dynamism they thought he could bring to their respective sides. Today he could get the perfect chance to show them what it is they missed out on and why Ten Hag was so desperate to sign him.

Liverpool will insist they have not lived to regret missing out on Mount. His challenge is to make sure they do.

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