Fergie to sharpen up stars for Anfield test

Simon Stone

Alex Ferguson will be just as concerned by what goes on at Carrington during the current international break as he is by the matches being played around the world.

Manchester United have three players - England duo Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley, plus skipper Nemanja Vidic - who have a chance of being fit for the crucial Premier League visit to Liverpool on October 15.

Vidic has been out since suffering a calf strain in the opening-day triumph at West Brom in August, while Smalling and Cleverley are battling to overcome groin and foot injuries respectively. However, Ferguson knows from past experience that merely being fit is not enough to warrant selection at Anfield.

He also believes players must have an added edge to cope with such a tumultuous fixture.

"The most important thing is the work they do before the internationals finish," Ferguson said.

"We want to have Vidic and Cleverley doing some really strong work, and Smalling too - that would bring them on to a level that they could play at Anfield.

"You can't go there with players who are semi-fit or just coming back from injury. You need players who are fully focused and up to speed in terms of fitness and sharpness."

Meanwhile, United midfielder Anderson has set himself a 10-goal target for the season.


It took the 23-year-old 78 appearances to bag his first United goal. He only got one more in the next 17 months.

Now, he is on something of a hot streak. Anderson's header in Saturday's 2-0 win over Norwich at Old Trafford was his fifth in 11 appearances and helped preserve United's narrow advantage over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. "One particular aim is to score at least 10 goals," said the former Porto star. "I am going to try my very best to score more."

Anderson has started nine of United's 11 games in all competitions this season and feels he is benefiting from the increased exposure.

"You can say it is my best start because I have never played five or six games consecutively at the beginning of the season," he said.

"It's been great to stay in the side and help make a big contribution.

"I have trained well, looked after myself and the boss has given me a chance. It is important that I take it."