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Report: Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard Could Return for Man United vs. Liverpool

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2019

CARDIFF, WALES - DECEMBER 22: Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates scoring thier 3rd goal with Jesse Lingard during the Premier League match between Cardiff City and Manchester United at Cardiff City Stadium on December 22, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Manchester United could reportedly welcome Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard back from their injuries sooner than expected, and it's rumoured both have a chance of facing Liverpool on Sunday. 

Martial, 23, and Lingard, 26, were injured in United's 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first leg at Old Trafford last Tuesday. It was reported they would miss two to three weeks:

B/R Football @brfootball

If Martial and Lingard miss all three weeks…yikes 😳 https://t.co/FzcKfAASGE

Neither will play in Monday's FA Cup fifth-round fixture against Chelsea, but the Mirror's David McDonnell wrote that United sources say one or both players could line up against Liverpool on Sunday.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in a press conference after his side's defeat to PSG that he thought his star pair would be missing for up to three weeks.

He called on Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and 18-year-old Angel Gomes to step up during their absence: "It is a chance for anyone who plays, whether it is Alexis, Romelu or Angel (Gomes). Anthony and Jesse have done really well for us; they are vital in the attacking parts with their pace. Romelu and Alexis have different skill sets, so we just need to gel a team together for Monday now."

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News referenced Sir Alex Ferguson's past practices in exaggerating player injuries and wondered whether Solskjaer had picked up the tactic from his old boss:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Solskjaer has mimicked Fergie a lot and United fans must hope he does with Lingard's and Martial's injuries. Ferguson said the day before #mufc played Bayern in 2010 Rooney had 'no chance' of playing. He then started the game.

It was actually under the Norwegian's predecessor, Jose Mourinho, that Martial scored seven of the nine league goals he's picked up this season. The Frenchman was essential in the recent 3-0 win over Fulham when he scored and assisted at Craven Cottage.

Lingard has contributed more in front of goal under the new chief and doubled his league goal tally for the season in Solskjaer's first game in charge, when he scored a brace in United's 5-1 win at Cardiff City.

One notable change Solskjaer has made is placing more faith in younger players and assigning Marcus Rashford, 21, as the first-choice striker ahead of £75 million signing Lukaku.

Another player who could stand to benefit in the short term should wide men Martial and Lingard remain sidelined is Netherlands under-21 international Tahith Chong, 19:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Solskjaer has mimicked Fergie a lot and United fans must hope he does with Lingard's and Martial's injuries. Ferguson said the day before #mufc played Bayern in 2010 Rooney had 'no chance' of playing. He then started the game.

Liverpool are level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City and will use their game in hand to restore a three-point lead if they can win at Old Trafford on Sunday, a feat they haven't managed since March 2014.

Despite their loss at home to PSG, United are unbeaten in nine league matches under Solskjaer and sit fourth, one point above Arsenal and nine points behind Tottenham Hotspur in third.

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