James Wilson
James Wilson limped off with a suspected hamstring injury during Manchester United U21's 2-1 win over Everton U21's on MondayGetty Images/Alex Livesey

Manchester United have reportedly been handed a fresh injury blow ahead of their game against Liverpool on Sunday when striker James Wilson limped off just 40 minutes into an U21 Premier League clash against the Everton U21's.

According to Manchester Evening News, the striker, who opened the scoring for United in their 2-1 win over the Toffees youngsters, was substituted late in the first-half with a suspected hamstring injury as the Red Devils consolidated their place on the top of the U21 Premier League table.

This injury to Wilson and the stuttering form of Radamel Falcao could push Louis van Gaal to continue with Wayne Rooney as the lone striker for the game at Anfield.

Robin van Persie has already been ruled out until after the international break and the Dutch manager will hope that the young striker's injury is a minor one.

Wilson, who has not featured in the first team since the start of February, was taking part in his second consecutive U21 game.

Youth team coach Warren Joyce looks to keep the young Englishman sharp and match fit ahead of a crucial period for United, which will see them face Liverpool, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester City in the next four weeks.

Meanwhile, the Old Trafford club, who kept up their quest for a place in the top four with a convincing win over Tottenham on Sunday are now targeting second place as they are just two points behind local rivals Manchester City, who occupy that spot and just one behind Arsenal in third.

Defender Chris Smalling believes that second place is a genuine possibility and insists that United are desperate to compete in next season's Champions League.

"It is all very close. There is only a point between us and Arsenal and I think it's very open all the way up to second place and we will be aiming for that," Smalling said, as quoted by Manchester Evening News.

"We want Champions League football back here. It's a must. Fourth is the minimum but when it's there, second is a realistic target and if we keep on performing like we did against Spurs I don't see why we can't give it a good push," the England international added.