Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is facing a midfield crisis after confirming that Michael Carrick will miss his side's clash against arch-rivals Liverpool on Saturday (14 October) but can at least take solace in the fact that in-form striker Romelu Lukaku is fit to face the Reds after overcoming an ankle problem.
Carrick, 36, missed the games against CSKA Moscow and Crystal Palace with a calf problem and has not recovered in time to face Jurgen Klopp's men, who will be without influential attacker Sadio Mane after the Senegalese star suffered a hamstring injury during the international break.
Lukaku also suffered an injury during the latest swathe of international action but has managed to quickly shake off the ankle complaint and will no doubt start for the Red Devils against Liverpool, who have conceded 20 goals already this season.
"Michael Carrick? I know he cannot play, I know that. Lukaku looks fine and that's it," Mourinho said in his press conference.
"We want to win but we play against a team that wants the same. They play at home, they're very strong in matches against top teams and we know it won't be easy. We must forget, like we always do, about the injured players who are not available for the match. We focus on what we have and we go strong, with a strong mentality and strong desire to win."
The United boss did not give an update on influential midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who will almost certainly miss the match against Liverpool are suffering knee ligament damage during the international break.
With Fellaini, Carrick and Paul Pogba all on the sidelines, Mourinho may have to change the tactical approach that has served United so well in recent weeks against an energetic and high-pressing Liverpool side that will look to exploit any space in the centre of midfield.
The Portuguese coach was chastised for what was seen as an overly defensive set-up in the same fixture last season, and jokingly suggested that he will take inspiration from years gone by and play nine forwards against Liverpool, who are defensively frail but stocked full of attacking talent.
"I will play with one defender and one striker, don't worry about it," the United boss said in jest. "We play with one guy behind and then we go with the new system, even an evolution of the WM [old style formation], and we play with nine strikers. Don't worry about it."