Martial, Lingard May Return for United vs. Liverpool, Says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Interim Manager of Manchester United celebrates victory after the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 18, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard could return to action against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. 

Martial and Lingard were both injured in the recent 2-0 UEFA Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain and were initially tipped to miss Sunday's clash against United's fierce rivals.

However, Solskjaer addressed the media on Friday and suggested both players could feature, per Simon Peach of the Press Association:

Liverpool have drawn three of their past four matches but can use their game in hand to climb three points above Manchester City at the top of the Premier League standings if they win on Sunday.

Solskjaer told reporters he "wouldn't tell anyone" whether his side are capable of beating the Merseysiders, who last won at Old Trafford in March 2014:

"I wouldn't tell anyone, would I? We have to perform better than we did against PSG, because it's a big game, a big team, suddenly we're not underdogs any more. People praise us, now is the time to play them. We need to learn from PSG. They should have had 10 men and us 11 when it was quite even, we've gotta make sure we stay focused. All these games are decided on little margins, that one-centimetre was in front of Eric [Bailly], that's the deciding factor."

United lost their undefeated streak under Solskjaer with the defeat to PSG, but the Red Devils are still unbeaten in 12 domestic matches since the Norwegian took over in December.

Sunday's match could also have some added motivation for the hosts after Solskjaer revealed Sir Alex Ferguson could give United their pre-match team talk, per journalist Bill Rice:

Paul Pogba was sent off against PSG but responsed superbly in Monday's 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over Chelsea, scoring one goal and assisting the other.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner was an unused substitute when United lost 3-1 at Anfield in December, and Solskjaer was asked whether he felt it necessary to make Pogba the centrepiece of his side:

"I was asked wasn't I, and I've been quoted so many times if you build your team around Paul Pogba. I said a couple of years back, he's a top, top player I've always liked, a World Cup winner, a leader in dressing room, wants the ball all the time. My idea was to get him playing to the best of his abilities as an attacking midfielder. PSG man-marked him, other teams will, I don't know if Liverpool will, if Liverpool do he will have experienced that. That was what stopped Paul and created space for others.

"There's different types of his midfielders, but in his mould there's no one near with his physical presence, great close technique. [The] diving header against Chelsea, did the same versus Bournemouth, but he can also spray passes. I don't think that's his best position but he can do that as well."

He also lauded the attributes of Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, the latter of whom has made a resurgence since Solskjaer took over:

The United chief acknowledged the side could next season be built around the likes of Pogba and Marcus Rashford, who has scored nine times in 22 Premier League appearances this term.

Sunday's hosts will be particularly motivated knowing fifth-place Arsenal or Chelsea, sixth, could overtake them if they suffer a first Old Trafford defeat to Liverpool in five years.

However, the possible returns of Martial and Lingard have boosted United ahead of Solskjaer's biggest game in charge of the club.

Related

    Palace Not Budging on $88M Wan-Bissaka Price

    Manchester United logo
    Manchester United

    Palace Not Budging on $88M Wan-Bissaka Price

    The Independent
    via The Independent

    Report: Mata Has Signed 3-Year Extension

    Manchester United logo
    Manchester United

    Report: Mata Has Signed 3-Year Extension

    Tom Coast
    via Sport Witness

    Man Utd Hold Talks with Ex-Everton Director of Football

    Manchester United logo
    Manchester United

    Man Utd Hold Talks with Ex-Everton Director of Football

    via liverpoolecho

    Man Utd Told Issa Diop Will Cost $98M

    West Ham won't let French defender go cheaply

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Man Utd Told Issa Diop Will Cost $98M

    West Ham won't let French defender go cheaply

    Jason Burt,
    via The Telegraph