Manchester United entered the weekend with a very healthy squad as only Wayne Rooney was thought to be unavailable for the Liverpool tie. The striker is even nearing a return. Prior to the match though, it was a slight surprise that Jonny Evans wasn't in the starting XI and it was even a bigger surprise that he wasn't in the eighteen. Here's why:
"Jonny Evans felt his hamstring yesterday afternoon [Saturday]. I was at Nottingham [watching Forest vs. Peterborough] and got a message at half-time. He trained in the morning so it was strange."
- Sir Alex Ferguson | Source: MUTV
The seriousness of the injury is unknown and it's possible that another update may not be provided until Ferguson's weekly press-conference on Friday. The player that likely deputised for the Northern Ireland international was Nemanja Vidic. The captain, though, violently collided with Liverpool's Andre Wisdom in the second-half during this weekend's game and there are fears now that he might have a knee problem -- again. This is obviously more concerning than usual because the Serbian has hardly featured these past thirteen months due to two major injuries on the same knee. Vidic just had this to say two weeks ago about being cautious during his most recent return from injury:
"The doctor is managing the games [I can play]. Over the first two or three months I have to really look at the games I can play because sometimes I might have a reaction. This is a process I have to go through."
Just like for Evans, it's uncertain at the moment how serious Vidic's knee injury is or even if it's a new concern. He was, though, substituted off in the 80th minute against Liverpool presumably because of his knee. If both players are unavailable for Wednesday's FA Cup replay against West Ham United, or even for a longer period of time, United's current center-back options include Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jones. 21-year-old Scott Wootton is now on loan to Peterborough United but Michael Carrick is available as
a really poor an emergency option at center-back too.
Another player that substituted off due to a knee injury was Ashley Young. The winger twisted his knee in the first-half and it was severe enough to where he needed to be substituted off at half-time. The England international was also reportedly seen on crutches after the match. Again, because Ferguson didn't comment on it after the match, it's uncertain as to the severity of the knee problem. The other natural winger options on the squad include Antonio Valencia, Nani, and Ryan Giggs (to an extent). Shinji Kagawa, though, impressed versus Liverpool drifting inside from an initial wide left position so he could get more looks out there if Young is out for an extended period of time. Rooney and Danny Welbeck, who are natural strikers, are also versatile enough to put in a shift out wide.