Harry Maguire has provided an update on the hip problem which threatened to keep him out for an extended period.
The England international picked up a small tear in his hip muscle during the goalless draw with Wolves in the FA Cup third round, and there were fears that the defender would be out for over a month.
But Maguire made a quick recovery and started in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Norwich City.
Speaking after the game, Maguire offered the latest on his injury: “I had a problem with my muscle, but it was only a small muscle and I normally recover quick and can play with a bit of pain,” he said.
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“I’m alright and got through the game unscathed. I feel good and ready to go again.”
The potential absence of Maguire, who arrived for a world record fee from Leicester in the summer, would have left United’s defensive frailties exposed, especially with crunch fixtures coming up.
Eric Bailly has only just returned to full training after a long-term knee injury, while Axel Tuanzebe is currently suffering from a hip problem.
Phil Jones started in the 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City, but struggled throughout the game and pulled up with cramp at the end of the game.
But his recovery is a huge boost to United boss Ole Gunnar Solskajer, who is preparing his side for the FA Cup replay against Wolves on Wednesday, before travelling to Anfield to face league leaders Liverpool on Sunday.
The Reds have only dropped points once this season – against United at Old Trafford – so Jurgen Klopp’s side will be desperate to beat their fierce rivals in pursuit of the Premier League title.
Another achievement on the Reds’ to-do list is finishing the season unbeaten.
After overcoming Leicester, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United across the busy Christmas and New Year schedule, Liverpool made it 38 games undefeated after the 1-0 win over Tottenham at the weekend.
They need only 11 games to draw level with Arsenal’s record of 49 games – and 12 to hit 50 games unbeaten and overtake the Invincibles of 2003/04.
And with Manchester United one of Liverpool’s most difficult remaining fixtures, the presence of Maguire could be music to the ears of Arsenal supporters who desperately hope Liverpool suffer a defeat before they reach 49 games.