Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has dilemmas and injuries ahead of Liverpool match – yet players have been rushed back against the Reds before.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER ADMITS MARCUS RASHFORD DECISION BACKFIRED LEAVING STRIKER IN DOUBT FOR LIVERPOOL
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been left with a selection headache ahead of Sunday’s clash with Liverpool.
With the Reds flying high at the top of the league and United toiling 27 points behind, the Norwegian may be tempted into rushing a number of players back from injury.
Marcus Rashford was forced off with a back problem in the FA replay against Wolves last night, potentially depriving Solskjaer of his leading scorer for the Liverpool game.
Rashford was pictured being driven into United’s Carrington training ground earlier today.
Midfielder Scott McTominay has already been ruled out after picking up a knee injury on Boxing Day, while club-record signing Paul Pogba’s recent ankle surgery makes his return to the team unlikely.
Pogba recently shared a video of a personal workout wearing an ankle cast but is predicted to return at the end of this month.
Luke Shaw picked up a hamstring injury prior to United’s win over Norwich, but the form of Brandon Williams at left-back will likely block any return to the team for the former Southampton man, even if he is fit for the weekend.
Solskjaer will be desperate for his best players to play in such a monumental fixture and admitted the club would “do anything and everything” to get Rashford back for Sunday.
It wouldn’t be uncharted territory for the United manager if he were to hurry recovering players back into the playing squad for a game against Liverpool.
Just days ahead of the 1-1 draw in October, goalkeeper David de Gea limped off while playing for Spain and looked set to be ruled out.
But come game day and de Gea was lining up between the sticks, along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka who came straight back into the team after missing the last three matches.
Victor Lindelof was also restored to the starting eleven after missing the previous league game, while Anthony Martial returned to the bench after a long injury absence.
Premature returns for United’s wounded on Sunday may not seem that unrealistic.
United’s reliance on Rashford’s goals gives them more than enough reason to rush the young winger back, while the strategy of playing five at the back in October may force accelerated returns for central defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly.
The Old Trafford club are often devoid of creativity in midfield, but even so playmaker Pogba is too far from a return to be considered, especially when he has already aggravated the injury while playing over Christmas.
Any United spark could come from the rejuvenated Juan Mata, and is less likely to be provided by transfer target Bruno Fernandes – the Sporting talisman looks set to play for the Portuguese side against Benfica on Friday meaning a debut for United on Sunday is out of the question even if he signs ahead of the game.
Liverpool, meanwhile, may be able to welcome a couple of first team stars back to the matchday squad.
Fabinho and Joel Matip have both trained this week, after ankle ligament damage and a knee injury had kept them both on the sidelines.
Klopp is expected to deliver an update on the fitness of both players in his Friday press conference as he continues to see his options bolstered.