Paul Pogba’s battle to regain his best form has suffered another blow with the Manchester United midfielder ruled out of today’s clash against Liverpool at Old Trafford.
Pogba pulled up in training at United’s Carrington training ground on Friday and was unable to finish the session.
The Frenchman has since been ruled out forcing manager Jose Mourinho into a late reshuffle of his midfield ahead of a crucial game. Liverpool can leapfrog United into second if they win while Mourinho’s men could move five points clear of their Merseyside rivals with victory.
Pogba had not been among the United players players that arrived at the Lowry hotel in Salford - the team’s base before home matches - on Friday evening.
Pogba returned to the starting XI for the Premier League wins over Chelsea and Crystal Palace but he was dropped for the 2-0 league win over Huddersfield Town and the first leg of United’s Champions League Round of 16 tie away to Sevilla as well as being substituted in the defeats to Spurs and Newcastle. Mourinho and Pogba held talks over his form before United’s 2-0 FA Cup win against Huddersfield last month.
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Pogba has also been the subject of some fierce criticism of late from Sky Sports pundits Graeme Souness and Gary Neville.
After United’a 3-2 win over Palace on Monday, Neville said: “His great weakness is that he plays like he's playing in the park with his mates. It's like everything he does is like a YouTube or Instagram video. It's like it's not serious, it's like a joke to him in terms of the way he goes about things. It's no wonder Mourinho has left him out for the past few weeks a number of times."
Anthony Martial remains sidelined with a thigh injury that kept him out of the Palace game and Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Daley Blind are still injured.
Centre half Eric Bailly is pushing for a starting place against Liverpool, having last started a game on Nov. 5. Mourinho said midfielder Marouane Fellaini was available again following knee surgery although it remains to be seen if he makes the 18-man squad. The Belgian’s last appearance came against Spurs on Jan. 31.
Jose Mourinho is considering going back to a two-man midfield for Manchester United's crunch home match with Liverpool on Saturday, but much will depend on the fitness of Paul Pogba, who has picked up a knock in training.
When these sides met six months ago, there was a real sense that a rivalry seeped in historic animosity might provide us with some evidence that one of the pair could be primed for a title challenge.