Manchester United handed triple fitness boost ahead of Liverpool clash
By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United have been handed a triple boost ahead of Thursday’s Europa League showdown against Liverpool.
Fit-again trio Bastian Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Antonio Valencia are in contention to come into the team as they build up their match fitness.
United had 14 players sidelined at one point last month but are now close to having a full complement of players available, bar long-term absentees Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young.
United need to overturn Liverpool’s 2-0 advantage from the first leg at Anfield to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Schweinsteiger has had two substitute appearances after two months out with a knee injury, Darmian is back in the squad after dislocating his shoulder and dated Antonio Valencia is set to return to the matchday 18 after a 45-minute run-out for the Under-21s last week.
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In other Manchester United team news, manager Louis Van Gaal has given an incentive to the long-term absentees.
“We are still in three competitions. So I said that to Shaw, Rooney and Young, all the players, you can still play in the final,” Van Gaal told United’s official site.
“It’s very important to still be in the cup because a lot of players are still coming back and now you have seen Schweinsteiger play again for 15 minutes so I have more choices. But I still have to build up a number of players in the coming weeks, which is not so easy.”