Louis van Gaal has confirmed that winger Antonio Valencia could be back in action this weekend.
The former Wigan Athletic player has been a huge miss for Manchester United this season. He has not played for the club since October. His last appearance for the club was in the draw at Manchester City. There is a chance that he could be back in the first-team reckoning before the next Manchester derby of the season according to the Dutchman. In his absence, Van Gaal has not had much options in this position. This is because Valencia not only offered the ability to play as a right-winger, but also has a right full-back due to his exceptional energy.
One of the reasons for this extended absence is the surgery that Valencia had to undergo in order to sort out the foot injury that happened during the game against City. This injury has limited the player to just 11 appearances so far this campaign. He has not yet scored in any competition but has contributed one goal through an assist. After having spent so much time on the sidelines, it is not surprising that the player is not 100% match fit yet. Van Gaal confirmed this aspect and stated that Valencia is still not ready to play the full 90 minutes in a game.
“Valencia is fit enough to be on the bench but not to play all 90 minutes,” said the manager ahead of the game at Anfield on Thursday night. United have the chance to knockout Liverpool out of the Europa League while also progressing to the latter stages of the competition themselves. Winning the Europa League has more importance now, unlike before due to low TV money, since the winner of the competition gets direct qualification to the group stages of the Champions League.