Manchester United’s wretched luck with injuries do not seem to wither away, and Louis van Gaal is facing yet another defensive crisis, as Chris Smalling will be out for two-weeks at least, meaning the England defender will miss out the titanic clash with Liverpool on Sunday.
Smalling suffered the injury during United’s 2-1 win over Southampton at St Mary’s, where he was forced to leave in the first half. Jamie Jackson of The Guardian reports, the defender has suffered a groin tear, and will be out for couple of weeks.
Jonny Evans played in the last match and he will be available for selection again against Liverpool, however, United defenders – Phil Jones (calf injury) and Luke Shaw (ankle injury) – remain on the sidelines.
Against Southampton, Van Gaal had to remove the 19-year-old Paddy McNair early on, which he later explained due to a lack of confidence, therefore, the Dutchman probably won’t risk him again against Liverpool.
Chris Smalling to miss Liverpool on Sunday. Would think that means Rojo and Evans in a back four.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) December 10, 2014
Michael Carrick therefore could partner Evans at the back, should Van Gaal opts to go with three-man defence in his favoured 3-5-2 formation.
Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News however feels that Van Gaal could discard his three-man defence system and go with four defenders at the back.
Smalling was finding some form in recent matches, therefore his exclusion from the squad is a blow for the team. The Independent’s Tom Sheen notes that the injury to Smalling was 43rd time Louis van Gaal has suffered since he took over at Old Trafford in the summer.