Martialis poised to make his return from an eight-week lay-off with a thigh injury he suffered Crystal Palace on August 24. De Gea also arrived with the rest of the United squad at The Lowry Hotel on Saturday night after he injured a muscle abductor in Spain’s European qualifier against Sweden on Tuesday night.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is back after missing the last three matches due to illness and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has included 18 -year-old midfielder James Garner in his provisional squad. Fellow teenagers Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes are also under consideration for selection in the matchday squad.
Solskjaer is seldom transparent with injury news and said in a midweek interview with Sky Sports ‘I think [De Gea] will be out’ of the Liverpool match.
Solskjaer was more hopeful players would recover for the match at his Friday press conference. “Of course I would like to tell you positive news. Hopefully we’ll see on Sunday who’s come through the last two sessions as well. Because there are players here that just started training, just on the verge of coming back or not, so I can’t really say.
“I don’t expect [De Gea] to play but it wasn’t as bad as feared. When I saw the game I thought that’s him out until next international break because we’ve had some long-term muscle injuries but it’s not as bad as feared. “
Former United manager David Moyes billed as Liverpool as favorites before their last win at United in March 2014 and was widely pilloried for his underdog mentality. The same question was put to Solskjaer.
“They’re doing well in the league,” Solskjaer noted. “That’s for sure, but we’re looking forward to this game, it’s perfect game for our players and our fans, because we’ve had a tough time, a difficult time lately and I’m sure we’ll give them a good game. “
Solskjaer has won a game more than Jurgen Klopp did in his first 29 Premier League matches in charge of Liverpool but is not clinging onto such a positive spin. “No, I don’t hold onto stats like this. And just working as planned, business as usual, we try to improve the team, we’re trying to work towards something.
“But, of course, we’re heading somewhere we feel but need results. And I expect the players to come out and prove why they’re at Man United. “
Liverpool visit United on a 17 – match winning run in the Premier League and could match the 18 – game record Manchester City set in 2017 – 18. United cannot slip into the relegation zone following the Saturday afternoon results but are now 14 th and just a point above the bottom three.
Despite their dire form, United have only lost once to Liverpool at Old Trafford this decade and comparisons have been drawn between Solskjaer’s start and Jurgen Klopp’s at Anfield, where he took three-and-a-half years to win silverware. Solskjaer won one Premier League game more from his first 29 games in charge of United than Klopp did at Liverpool.
Klopp did reach two finals in his first campaign and a Champions League final in his third season. Doubts have mounted over Solskjaer’s suitability to manage United, but he does not feel as though the job is too much for him.
“No, I’ve never felt it’s too big for me, “I’m confident in what we’re trying to do and I’m confident in my staff – the coaching and what’s happening here every single day.
“I’ve been so impressed. Michael, Kieran, Richard, the coaching, the improvement is there to see for us but it’s about results. Start winning games, start scoring goals, we need to create more chances because at the back we’ve looked solid.
“But we haven’t been adventurous enough, taking enough risks. If you watch the best teams they take more risks with the ball, they make more runs in behind and that’s part of the process for the boys.
” When they’re losing confidence maybe they want to play it a bit more safe but it’s not safety that does it here – at this club you do take risks. The best teams around take more risks more runs and maybe the boys when they lose confidence they play safe and it’s my duty to say it’s not safety. “
United have won two Premier League matches all season and Solskjaer has only presided over five wins in regulation time from the last 23. Of the mood at United, he said: “Of course, there’s been loads of players away and that’s been the case for everyone, but the mood here is always good.
“We’ve come a long way on what you call the culture, the environment we’re working in, and it’s positive, it’s working towards something. The staff and players know when it’s Liverpool coming up, it’s a game that’s gonna be watched by so many and when you sign for Man United this is the one you look forward to.
Manchester United squad vs Liverpool:
“Every year the fixture list comes out against one of the main rivals at home and it’s a chance for them to, as I did a couple of times, to get in the history books.
“The mood in a football club is always affected by results, but it’s been better than expected within here and the people that you meet can see what we’re trying to do.
“But winning games is the biggest thing, that breeds confidence, that’s when you get the good mood and smile happily. It’s a determined bunch of players and club but you can’t say we walk around smiling all the time. “
Confir med United squad members
David de Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young, Brandon Williams, James Garner, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Juan Mata, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Daniel James, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood