Anthony Martial could return to provide Manchester United a major boost when they take on Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend.
Manchester United are set to go head to head against bitter rivals Liverpool in Gameweek 27 of the 2018-19 Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Entering the matchweek in the fourth place in the Premier League standings, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will be aiming to dent their opponents’ title hopes with a victory at home.
The Norwegian manager is unlikely to make a large number of changes to the side that eased past Chelsea 2-0 in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday night. One of the few changes that are likely to happen on Sunday will see Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper David de Gea return to the starting XI, replacing Sergio Romero.
Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia remains a major doubt for the visit of Liverpool, while fellow defenders Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo are also lacking match fitness and will not be involved. However, that is unlikely to be a major concern for Solskjaer, who seems to have found a settled backline at United.
Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are undisputed starters in the two full-back slots for the Red Devils on Sunday. Victor Lindelof has firmly established himself as a mainstay at the back in recent months and should undoubtedly feature from the get-go this weekend.
Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly will contest for the second centre-back slot. But, after his solid display against Chelsea earlier this week, Smalling is likely to be retained in the starting lineup against Liverpool.
Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba were the architects of Manchester United’s win over Chelsea and are guaranteed starters in the middle of the park, along with Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic, whose turnaround in form has been key for the 20-time English champions in recent weeks.
Manchester United could be boosted by the return of French international Anthony Martial in attack on Sunday, after the forward missed the game against Chelsea with an injury. Jesse Lingard too, has a possibility of making it to the matchday squad, as per manager Solskjaer.
“I hope and think Anthony will be ready and I hope Jesse will be ready because it’s two different injuries,” the Norwegian told MUTV on Friday. “So maybe more hope than think, with Anthony as well, but he’s got a chance. Anyway, we still hope Jesse could be ready. Let’s see. We’ve still got a couple of days’ training left and they need to be part of it.”
There still seems to be some uncertainty over Lingard’s condition, meaning Juan Mata could be set for another start as the central attacking midfielder, tasked with pulling the strings in the final third.
With the manager sounding more optimistic about Martial’s availability, the former AS Monaco star could find himself starting as one of the forwards, alongside in-form man Marcus Rashford against Liverpool on Sunday. That would mean Romelu Lukaku drops out to the bench.