United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had rested Rashford but, with the tie goalless, decided to bring on the 22-year-old just after the hour mark. Juan Mata secured United’s progression to the fourth round but the Norwegian admitted the decision to bring Rashford on backfired after he went down clutching his back and had to be replaced by Jesse Lingard.
The United manager said in his pre-match press conference that it was going to be a last-minute decision on whether or not Rashford would travel to Merseyside. Rashford was not with the United squad that arrived at The Lowry Hotel on Saturday night, having reported at the club’s Carrington training complex in the morning.
“I can’t tell you now,” Solskjaer said. “As I said with Harry [Maguire] a few weeks ago, of course we’re going to give him the absolute amount of time to find out. We’ll do some more checks and treatment with him today, yesterday, of course, was just a recovery day and some treatment for him. I’ve not see him this morning.
“I’m not going to hold my breath. I would probably think he wouldn’t be ready but let’s see. it’s 48 hours [away], more than that, so let’s see.”
Solskjaer made changes to United’s usual pre-Liverpool preparations. The squad has stayed in a city centre hotel in Liverpool the night before matches but opted to reside at their favoured Manchester city centre hotel and will travel to Anfield on Sunday.
Solskjaer has been given a defensive boost though with the return of Eric Bailly to the matchday squad. The centre-back last played a first-team game for the club on their pre-season tour but made his playing comeback from a knee injury for the Under-23s a week last Friday. Solskjaer said returning defenders Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah will be important options for him for the rest of the season.
“Axel (Tuanzebe) had a setback but he’s working his way towards fitness,” Solskajer explained. “Eric (Bailly) and Tim (Fosu-Mensah) are fit and available.
“Luke Shaw is on the training pitch today [Friday] to see how he is. He’s been ill and he’s had a little issue. Diogo (Dalot) is back and Marcos (Rojo) is still not ready. He had a bad calf injury that took longer than we expected.”
Manchester United squad vs Liverpool:
United go into the game looking to become the first team to beat Liverpool in the league at Anfield since Crystal Palace in April 2017. United remain the only team to have taken points of Jurgen Klopp‘s league leaders this season.
The point United secured at Old Trafford back in October has given United belief they can go to Anfield and cause an upset on Sunday afternoon.
“We know if we perform at our best level, we can compete with them, like we did at Old Trafford, when they got only one point,” Juan Mata said after the win against Wolves on Wednesday night. “So from Thursday morning we will be 100 per cent focused on that game.
“It’s a very special game for us, for all of the Manchester United fans and everyone in the club, so a big weekend ahead and hopefully we can bring with us this good moment of good football and results.”
Confirmed Manchester United squad members to face Liverpool.
De Gea, Romero, Grant, Jones, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Williams, Bailly, Maguire, Dalot, Shaw, Lingard, Matic, Fred, Pereira, Gomes, Mata, Chong, James, Martial, Greenwood.