Manchester United are back in action on Sunday afternoon when they make the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Premier League.
Having put together a four-match unbeaten run, United remain in the hunt for the top-flight crown, despite sitting 11 points adrift of leaders Arsenal with a game in hand in the standings.
Last time out, Erik ten Hag watched his team come from behind to record a 3-1 victory over West Ham United to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, keeping their hopes of securing more than one piece of silverware this season alive.
Here, Sports Mole rounds up Man United’s latest injury and suspension news ahead of one of their most highly-anticipated away fixtures of the season.
Anthony Martial has been sidelined for a month and has missed the last eight games due to a hip injury. Ten Hag recently stated that he has no intention of risking any further setbacks with the Frenchman’s fitness at this stage, making it unlikely that he features in the squad for this fixture.
Christian Eriksen sustained an ankle injury in Man United’s FA Cup fourth-round win over Reading at the end of January, and the playmaker is not expected to return to first-team action until the final few weeks of the campaign.
Donny van de Beek has been ruled out for the rest of the season after picking up a serious knee injury against Bournemouth on January 3.
Luke Shaw missed Wednesday’s FA Cup tie with West Ham with a knock. While Ten Hag has suggested that the Englishman is a doubt for Sunday, the expectation is that he will return to the squad.
Jadon Sancho was forced to sit out of the game with the Hammers due to a fever. The winger will continue to be assessed ahead of the upcoming contest, but will hope to come back into contention.
Plans for a takeover of Manchester United could be delayed until May, with the current US-based owners the Glazer family said to be holding out for a better offer, according to British media reports.
The Daily Mail reported this week that the Glazers wanted a bid of at least £6 billion ($10.68bn AUD) after initial offers from Qatari’s Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani and British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe were lodged at a maximum of £4.5 billion ($A8bn).
The Mail said this might mean a sale of the club, which won its first trophy in six years by collecting the League Cup on Sunday, would not take place until May at the earliest.
In another report, the Guardian said there was indecision among the six Glazer siblings because each had their own view of any takeover but that the sale remained “under serious consideration by the family as a whole”.
He was the first to submit a bid by the ‘soft deadline’ of February 17 and has promised a “completely debt free” takeover of United.
Boyhood United fan Ratcliffe, who was born in the Manchester area, is one of Britain’s wealthiest individuals, with an estimated net worth of £12.5 billion ($15 billion) following the success of INEOS, his global chemical company.
He is keen to expand a sporting portfolio that already includes French football club Nice and Swiss team FC Lausanne-Sport, as well as the cycling team Ineos Grenadiers, formerly Team Sky.
A price tag of around $6 billion would smash the record fee for a football club set when a consortium led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital purchased Chelsea last year.
Russ Mould, investment director at Manchester-headquartered stockbrokers AJ Bell, told AFP on Wednesday: “As bidders continue to circle one of the globe’s most valuable sports franchises, it seems no party has reached the £6 billion valuation put on the business by Manchester United’s current owners.”
United, one of the most successful clubs in English football history, have struggled to keep pace with bitter rivals Manchester City since the retirement of legendary manager Alex Ferguson in 2013.
But under disciplinarian Dutch manager Erik ten Hag, United appear to be on the rise and ended their long wait for silverware by beating Newcastle 2-0 in the League Cup final at Wembley.
They are also third in the Premier League, they beat Barcelona last week to progress to the last 16 of the Europa League and beat West Ham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday.
Mould said that with United’s prospects on the pitch looking rosier, the Glazers might think twice about ceding full control of the club.
“Speculation has been growing that should Erik ten Hag’s revolution in performance that has seen Manchester United go through an improved run of form and win their first trophy since 2017 continue, the family could be less willing to sell the club.”
If the Glazers do decide to hang on to all or part of the club, it would be deeply unpopular with United’s supporters, who have frequently demonstrated en masse against the American owners who they accuse of taking money out of the club over the years.