Man Utd could be forced to start teenager against Liverpool as injury crisis deepens

Manchester United are facing a serious shortage of options in defence for their clashes against Chelsea and Liverpool this week, after fresh injury blows were confirmed for two centre backs.

Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday, following Thursday's clash with Sheffield United, and will be hoping to avenge the disappointing FA Cup quarter-final exit at the same venue last month.

More than revenge, Jurgen Klopp's side need to keep winning to ensure they remain top of the Premier League table, where they currently sit after 29 games.

United travel to Chelsea before hosting Liverpool at the weekend and manager Erik ten Hag faces something of a headache in putting together a defence for the upcoming fixtures with his options now seriously depleted.

On Tuesday, United confirmed that both Lisandro Martinez (calf) and Victor Lindelof (hamstring) will be sidelined for about a month with fresh injuries, sustained in recent days.

The double blow leaves Liverpool's rivals short at the back, with several other players already absent.

Shortage of options

Raphael Varane came off at half-time of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford and is a doubt for this week's clashes, while Jonny Evans has missed the last two games with his own fitness problems.

Though not natural centre backs, Luke Shaw (thigh) and Tyrell Malacia (knee) are also long-term defensive absentees and won't be available for the weekend.

That leaves United with only Harry Maguire and 19-year-old Willy Kambwala as fit options for the centre of defence as things stand, though there is remains a chance Varane or Evans may return in time for the weekend.

Kambwala, who arrived at Old Trafford from Sochaux in 2020, has made just six first-team appearances for United to date.

Erik Ten Hag

Premier League Liverpool v Manchester United, ManU Jürgen Klopp manager of Liverpool and Erik ten Hag manager of Manchester United shake hands before the game during the Premier League match Liverpool vs Manchester United at Anfield, Liverpool, United Kingdom, 17th December 2023 Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images Liverpool Anfield Merseyside United Kingdom Copyright: xMarkxCosgrove/NewsxImagesx

Liverpool's own injury issues ahead of the fixture are well known.

While Curtis Jones and Andy Robertson are set to be in contention this week, the likes of Trent Alexander-ArnoldAlisson Becker and Diogo Jota are all likely to be targeting comebacks later in the month.

Meanwhile, Stefan Bajcetic could also finally make his long-awaited return in April after a lengthy layoff, having not featured since September.

Joel Matip remains out for the season, while there is no timeline on Thiago Alcantara's latest injury setback.

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