Ralf Rangnick has suggested Manchester United should investigate why they have suffered more injuries in the run-in than Liverpool.
Despite reaching the League Cup final, the FA Cup final and the Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool are not expected to have a single player injured for the Tuesday night visit of United, who are without five players.
Edinson Cavani (calf), Luke Shaw (ankle), Raphael Varane (muscular), Scott McTominay (foot) and Fred (hip flexor) are all out of the trip to Anfield. Varane has missed 15 games already this season and Cavani has been absent for 26 of United’s 43 games.
United have suffered a number of injury crises in recent years and the club opened a medical centre at their Carrington training complex that was billed as a ‘big signing’ by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012. Although United have avoided an outright injury crisis this season other than the Covid-19 outbreak in their squad just before Christmas, teenagers Hannibal Mejbri and Alejandro Garnacho were on the bench against Norwich due to the dearth of senior options.
While discussing the squad limitations he has had to work with since Amad, Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek left on loan in the January transfer window, Rangnick segued onto the issue of United’s injury issues.
“We lost a few players that we should not have lost,” he said. “I spoke about that last week, bearing in mind what kind of offensive players we had available against West Ham (in January), which substitutions I could make in the last 15 minutes, three of them are no longer here (Martial, Cavani and Mason Greenwood) or injured or continuously injured.
“We lost a few other players and right now we have a few injury problems with important players who should normally be in the starting XI. It is no excuse or alibi, things that happen. This is also an issue that worries me a bit – the number of injuries that we currently have. I compare that with Liverpool, although they are still competing in four competitions, they have no injury problems at all.
“We play only in the Premier League and we have five or six players injured. This is also an issue that needs to be taken care of in the future. To analyse why is that the case? Why does it happen?
“But again for us, it is about travelling to Liverpool tomorrow and show our very, very best performance that we can show on the pitch. This is what I expect from everybody involved tomorrow to show that we are good enough and we want to win the game.”
Marcus Rashford has only missed one game through injury since returning from shoulder surgery in October but was benched again for the win over Norwich on Saturday.
Rashford started at Everton the previous week and performed respectably, drawing two saves from Jordan Pickford in the 1-0 defeat, but Anthony Elanga was preferred over Rashford at the weekend.
Rangnick suggested after the Norwich victory Rashford had to ‘show up’ if he wanted to regain his place and expanded on that.
“I think with Marcus the biggest problem is, in most cases in training sessions, he’s really training well, he’s playing and performing in training with confidence, with good moments,” Rangnick added.
“So he’s always a player after training, when we speak internally with the coaching staff, where we say, ‘well that was a good training session by Marcus’.
“But then on game day, it’s about showing exactly that kind of performance on the pitch and he was struggling to do that in the past couple of weeks and months.
“He had good games. I remember the first game when I was in charge against Crystal Palace, he did well. He had other games. We all know his potential, we all know what kind of player he could be, but if a football team is not performing continuously on a high level it’s difficult for individuals players to develop in a positive way. This is the special thing about a team sport.
“Players individually can only benefit and develop if the whole team develops and this is what it’s about.
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