Marouane Fellaini knee injury adds to Manchester United’s midfield woes

Belgian strained medial ligaments in Belgium’s World Cup game in Bosnia

Marouane Fellaini in action for Belgium in their World cup qualifier against  Bosnia and Herzegovina at Grbavica stadium  in Sarajevo. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Marouane Fellaini in action for Belgium in their World cup qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina at Grbavica stadium in Sarajevo. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

 

Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out of Manchester United’s trip to Liverpool on Saturday due to strained medial knee ligaments. It is expected he will need a number of weeks to recover from the injury.

The news is a blow to José Mourinho as United’s manager is already without Paul Pogba due to a serious hamstring problem. In the Frenchman’s absence Fellaini has partnered Nemanja Matic in the United midfield ahead of Ander Herrera, who was first-choice last season.

The 29-year-old suffered the injury in Belgium’s 4-3 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier at Stadion Grbavica. Fellaini limped off after 29 minutes after hurting his left knee in an awkward fall on a dreadful pitch made worse by heavy rain. His involvement in the game may frustrate Mourinho as Roberto Martinez’s team had already qualified for Russia 2018.

Fellaini’s absence will mean Mourinho has only Matic and Herrera as frontline midfielders. The trip to Anfield is the first match of a busy October. In all United have six games during a month that includes flying to Lisbon to play Benfica in their third Champions League group match three days after facing Jürgen Klopp’s team.

United’s other matches are the away games at Huddersfield Town in the Premier League and Swansea City in the Caraboa Cup, before the league visit of Tottenham Hotspur and the return match against Benfica. United go to Chelsea on November 5th and whether Fellaini will be available for selection against the champions remains unclear.

Under Mourinho the Belgian has revamped his United career, the Portuguese having recently stated his ongoing trust of Fellaini. Before the injury this faith had been repaid as Fellaini was among United’s best performers this season, scoring four goals in six appearances.

Romelu Lukaku, Fellaini’s club and international team-mate, was not fielded against Bosnia-Herzegovnia due to an ankle problem. The centre forward is due to have a test on Monday before Martinez decides whether to choose him for Tuesday night’s final Group H qualifier against Cyprus.

(Guardian service)

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