Just as it seemed the physio’s room at Old Trafford was beginning to empty out, it got busier again this week as Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw both limped off the pitch against Bayern Munich in midweek.
Maguire is definitely out of tomorrow’s Premier League game against Liverpool although manager Erik ten Hag does not expect his absence to be long term.
Anthony Martial also remains unavailable through the illness that kept him out of Tuesday’s game, but Marcus Rashford returns.
Rashford has reportedly been suffering with Norovirus.
Shaw, too, has recovered quickly from what looked like hamstring trouble and is fit to play.
Victor Lindelof has to our knowledge not been mentioned by the club or in Ten Hag’s presser, so it is unclear at this stage whether he has recovered from the illness that saw him miss the last two games. We are assuming he remains unavailable.
Lisandro Martinez is back on the grass after his second surgery on the same ankle injury that kept him out of the latter stages of last season, but at least a couple of weeks away from playing competitive football
Tyrell Malacia has had a small setback in his recovery so will not be available until mid-January at the earliest.
As United lost 7-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, Ten Hag might opt for the more defensive-minded Aaron Wan-Bissaka over Diogo Dalot at right back.
The experiment with Shaw at centre back seems to have run its course, so it seems more likely that if Lindelof doesn’t make it, Jonny Evans will partner Rapha Varane at centre back and Shaw will play left back.
Sergio Reguilon is another option.
It is expected that Ten Hag will keep faith in Andre Onana in goal.
In midfield, Mason Mount could be ready for a return but the bench is probably the only realistic option. Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are both ruled out and Bruno Fernandes is suspended.
Again, with caution in mind, the most likely scenario is that Kobbie Mainoo comes in for Bruno with Scott McTominay pushing up a little more into an eight-ten role and Sofyan Amrabat holding alongside the 18 year old. This sacrifices some creativity but should add a bit more of a defensive wall in midfield.
Hannibal is another option to replace Fernandes but his inexperience and fiery temperament might not be best suited to the hostile Anfield environment.
Up front, with Martial out and Rasmus Hojlund looking jaded and bereft of confidence, Rashford could be asked to play centre forward, with Alejandro Garnacho continuing on the left wing and Antony on the right.
This would give Rashford an opportunity to really make a statement against Liverpool that could kick start his season, and also allow Hojlund to rest up and have the advantage of fresh legs if he is brought off the bench in the second half.
Amad Diallo could make the bench after a long lay-off, if he does not play for the U21s today. Facu Pellistri is also an option on the wings, but Jadon Sancho remains exiled by Ten Hag.