Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial could be fit to return for Manchester United against Liverpool on Renault Super Sunday, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The pair had been expected to be out of action until the end of the month after picking up injuries during United’s Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on February 12.
Lingard pulled up shortly before half-time in the first leg of the last-16 tie at Old Trafford with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, while Martial was injured earlier in the game and played on until the interval but did not reappear for the second half.
However, Solskjaer confirmed in his media conference on Friday that both players could return to first-team training ahead of the fixture against their rivals.
We are looking okay, Solskjaer said. I hope Jesse will be okay. I more hope than think Anthony will be okay.
They have got to get through these two sessions, they have not been part of it [training] yet. They have been doing some recovery work.
Every single player has their attributes and I think we showed against Chelsea that we can manage without them.
We have got options, it is a big squad with good players and everyone is eager to play this game. If they [Martial and Lingard] don’t make it, then it might be the same team that played against Chelsea.
Solskjaer’s record of 11 wins in his 13 matches since taking caretaker charge at Old Trafford means his United side go into the meeting with Liverpool full of confidence that they can inflict just a second league defeat of the season on Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Despite already inspiring his team to wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, Solskjaer knows that the big matches can be decided by just one mistake.
We have to perform better than we did against PSG, Solskjaer said. It’s a big game, a big team. We have got to learn from that experience. We have got to stay focused for the whole game.
Suddenly we are not underdogs any more, suddenly people praise us, they think now is the time to play them.
All these games are decided on little margins. That is the deciding factor in these big games.
While their opponents on Sunday are engrossed in an epic battle for the title with Manchester City and Tottenham, United’s return to form under Solskjaer has seen them climb into the top four – with just a point between them, Arsenal and Chelsea – but the Norweigan insists his attention remains firmly on beating Liverpool.
I am not really focusing on what other teams are doing, he said. I am focusing on us and what we have to do, to get where we want to be.
It is a three-horse race for the top, and it is a three-horse race for the fourth position, so that is more my focus – but now it is of course this game.
I feel we have taken a few steps in the right direction, in the process of becoming what we want to become. That we are a team that challenges higher up the league.
It’s not about pride, it’s onto the next one. I never look back, I just want to see forward.