United duo doubtful for the Anfield maelstrom

Evra has no qualms, Nani and Ferdinand could be out, but Jones may yet play in grudge FA Cup tie.

Manchester United face being without Rio Ferdinand and Nani for Saturday's highly charged FA Cup tie at Anfield, though Phil Jones has emerged as a contender to play despite an ankle injury sustained at Arsenal on Sunday.

Ferdinand suffered a back spasm in training last Thursday and, with his history of back trouble, the fourth-round tie may be beyond him. United are unlikely to take any risks on a player who two years ago sought prolotherapy as a cure of last resort for his back.

The injury to Nani which caused him to limp out of the 2-1 win at the Emirates is the most serious, though. Nani has told friends he may be out for two weeks, following a suspected metatarsal injury which led to him spending the train journey home from London on Sunday with his foot raised and a protective boot on. That prediction came ahead of scans on his foot and the prognosis may prove to be more serious.

Jones was walking despite his ankle problem yesterday. Chris Smalling suggested after the win in north London, which kept United within three points of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, that Jones's injury might not be "too serious", suggesting that Jones seemed to think it was a "twist". Sir Alex Ferguson initially suggested Jones would be out for two weeks.

Wayne Rooney, who took a knock to a calf and ankle at Arsenal, has sustained no damage. But it remains to be seen whether the knock Patrice Evra sustained will keep him out of the match at Anfield, where he can expect a maelstrom following Luis Suarez's high-profile racism case. Evra said after the Emirates game that he "felt dizzy" but was "fine", which suggests he may have no qualms about his reception on Merseyside.

Ferguson said last week he hoped midfielder Tom Cleverley could begin training again this week, though Ashley Young is the one most likely to make it back for Anfield, following his recuperation from ankle trouble.

Liverpool and United met at an administrative level last week to prepare for Saturday's lunchtime tie, though there is unlikely to be any statement advising supporters to desist from inflammatory behaviour in the light of the Suarez case. A letter, signed by Ferguson, has been sent to all United fans who have been allocated tickets, urging them not to block gangways. That conduct resulted in a reduced allocation of tickets for United's game at Anfield in October – though the allocation is back to 6,000 for Saturday. The request is unrelated to the Suarez-Evra issue.

Smalling has said that City's title challenge will "crumble" if United maintain their pursuit. "We knew that [City] scored in the dying minutes [on Sunday] but we can't keep relying on them to drop points and we needed to make sure that we did our job today," Smalling said. "Soon enough, if we keep ticking these wins, then they'll crumble."

The United defender said the players were not thinking about the Suarez- Evra controversy. "They're playing midweek so we'll keep an eye on that one," he said. "Come Saturday, it'll be nice to do them on their own patch."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee