Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said the decision to bring on Marcus Rashford in the team's 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday "backfired."
The Red Devils won the FA Cup third-round replay, with Juan Mata's second-half goal separating the teams in a tight contest.
Rashford started the match on the bench but was introduced into the game early in the second half with United struggling to find an attacking spark. However, the forward picked up a back problem during his 16 minutes on the field and had to be replaced by Jesse Lingard.
Speaking about his star man after the game, Solskjaer acknowledged it was a gamble to put Rashford into the game:
"Yes it backfired. I kept him away today, but we needed the win. You have got to take them (chances) once in a while. He couldn't run. He's struggled a little bit with a couple of knocks in his back recently and now he's got another one."
Rashford posted on his Twitter account following the contest:
Solskjaer was also asked whether he was concerned Rashford might miss Sunday's Premier League showdown with Liverpool at Anfield:
"Yes of course I am. I didn't want to play him, but I think he got a knock from a knee in his back. He's been absolutely top this season, and we'll do everything to get him fit.
"He is a quick healer, and he'll play through some pain if he's capable and it's not a bad injury. He's struggled more when he's been tired, but he wasn't on long enough to be tired."
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was quick to express concern that Rashford may sit out the showdown with the Merseyside giants on Sunday:
The Red Devils will go into the game with Liverpool as massive underdogs regardless, as Jurgen Klopp's side have raced clear at the summit of the Premier League. They are 14 points ahead of nearest rivals Manchester City and a whopping 27 clear of United in fifth.
For United fans, the bigger worry will be the possible negative impact Rashford's absence will have on the team achieving their goals this season, with the FA Cup and UEFA Europa League up for grabs, as well as a spot in the Premier League's top four.
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News was disappointed to see Rashford remain on the field for as long as he did on Wednesday:
Rashford has been the key man for United this season, excelling from the left flank. In the 2019-20 Premier League, he's been on target 14 times and notched four assists.
While United and Liverpool are huge rivals, Solskjaer would be unwise to risk the forward for Sunday's encounter if he isn't up to speed. The Red Devils have plenty to play for beyond the Anfield tussle.