Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans will not recover from their injuries in time for the Chelsea game, meaning the impressive Chris Smalling will start alongside Nemanja Vidic.

“Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans will be available for next week, and that means the Liverpool game,” said Ferguson.

Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia, Owen Hargreaves, Park Ji-Sung and Michael Owen have all been injured too, whilst the Da Silva twins picked up knocks in the FA Cup last weekend and were only available for the bench against Marseille.

“Michael is back training and could be available tomorrow,” added Ferguson. “The situation has not changed very much. We are trying to get Ryan fit. It is difficult to assess Antonio Valencia because he is doing very well, he is in contact training now. He has been taking part in all the sessions, so it is just that decision to play him in terms of his own confidence after such a long time out. It could be two weeks. We are hopeful. Park Ji-sung will be another two weeks and Anderson three, depending on how his progress goes because he is over in Portugal at the moment.”