LONDON • They say it never rains but it pours. In rainy Manchester, the Red Devils are facing another problem - a lengthy injury list.
To add salt to wounds, Premier League leaders Liverpool are heading to Old Trafford on Sunday and rarely have the odds been so in favour of an away win.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to be without goalkeeper David de Gea, who picked up a leg muscle injury on international duty with Spain.
"David needs a scan. I think he'll be out. It certainly looked like it anyway... so it's just one of those things," said the Norwegian on Sky Sports on Wednesday.
Sergio Romero is expected to stand in seamlessly, with the Argentinian owning the best clean sheet ratio (61 per cent) of any goalkeeper to have played at least 10 times for United. He can expect a busy time against Jurgen Klopp's potent attack.
France midfielder Paul Pogba has missed five of United's last seven matches with an ankle injury, and despite spending part of the international break recuperating in Dubai, the 26-year-old is still not ready for first-team action.
"Paul had an injury, he came back, he worked really hard. He came back and played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier," Solskjaer said.
"He had a scan and maybe needed a few weeks' rest in a boot so, hopefully, he won't be too long, but he won't make this game, no."
TREATMENT TABLE AT MANCHESTER UNITED
DAVID DE GEA Abductor muscle
PAUL POGBA Ankle
ERIC BAILLY Knee
TIMOTHY FOSU-MENSAH Anterior cruciate ligament
PHIL JONES Unspecified
VICTOR LINDELOF Back
AARON WAN-BISSAKA Tonsillitis
LUKE SHAW Hamstring
DIOGO DALOT Hip
JESSE LINGARD Hamstring
MASON GREENWOOD Back
ANTHONY MARTIAL Thigh
THE WAY FORWARD
I'm not going to go down the route of bringing players in on big contracts and big fees if they're not the right ones for the whole group and for the future.
OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, Manchester United manager, says the club will be prudent with their January recruitment.
There is better news on the fitness of forward Anthony Martial and full-backs Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
"I can't tell you 100 per cent (who) is going to be fit as something might happen," said Solskjaer. "But hopefully Aaron and Anthony will last the training this week and be available for selection.
"If it's for half a game or 30 minutes, I don't know but let's see."
He also said United will try to sign players in the January window but will not spend big on transfer fees and wages.
"We're looking at one or two new signings. We're one or two players light," he said, in reference to the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan.
"I'm not going to go down the route of bringing players in on big contracts and big fees if they're not the right ones for the whole group and for the future."
The club's recruitment under executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been heavily criticised for not replacing their departed players in the summer, but Solskjaer has described that as "an insult".
"I am 100 per cent sure from my time here that the structure is right," he insisted.
"I know people have said stuff about our recruitment but it's almost like an insult to the recruitment office, the scouts and us as professionals - me and (assistant manager) Mick (Phelan), the staff."
Liverpool have won just five times at Old Trafford in the Premier League era and United 16 times, but the gulf in quality between the sides has widened significantly in recent years.
While Klopp's side have a 100 per cent start after eight games and are looking to equal Manchester City's record of 18 consecutive top-flight victories, United have just two league wins this season.
After their 1-0 defeat by Newcastle before the international break, they are down in 12th place on nine points, 15 behind their arch-rivals.
United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata believes the clash on Sunday is an opportunity to kick-start the home team's season.
"We have a great chance to change the dynamic and we are all very motivated to take the win," he wrote on his blog.
"We are United, we are playing at home and we will give everything to be able to take the victory that our fans deserve."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE