By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Antonio Valencia is set to make his long-awaited return to the Manchester United squad against Liverpool on Thursday.

Louis van Gaal revealed at his media briefing on Wednesday morning that the Ecuador international has been training with the senior squad for a week and is ready to make his comeback.

The manager ruled out the possibility of the versatile right-sided player starting at Anfield in the first leg of the Europa League double-header.

Speaking at his media briefing, Van Gaal said: “Valencia is fit enough to be on the bench, but not to play 90 minutes.”

Valencia has not played for United since 25 October after undergoing an operation on a foot injury.

The long-serving 30-year-old, who joined United from Wigan in 2009, has been used predominantly on the right side of defence by Van Gaal rather than in the winger role of his pomp.

In other Manchester United team news, Bastian Schweinsteiger has returned to training but is not yet ready for a first-team return.