According to the Mirror‘s David McDonnell, David Moyes will drop long-serving defender Rio Ferdinand for Chris Smalling.
Smalling has only recently returned from a month-long injury layoff with a hamstring problem, playing the full 90 in the weekend win over Newcastle alongside Phil Jones.
According to McDonnell, it will be Smalling alongside Nemanja Vidic for the Champions League second leg against Bayern Munich later today, with Ferdinand dropped from the first-leg draw, in which he partnered well with Vidic.
The report says Phil Jones will move to right-back, and Patrice Evra will remain on the left.
Moyes has struggled to maintain defensive consistency this season, with Ferdinand making just 11 Premier League starts this season but playing the full 90 minutes in seven of United’s nine Champions League matches. Much of this is the cause of both injury and inconsistent form at the back.
In addition, Shinji Kagawa is reportedly set to start. The former Borussia Dortmund attacker is unbeaten in five career matches against Bayern Munich, and has won all four in which he’s started.
Wayne Rooney’s status is still technically unclear, but the manager dropped a massive hint the other day saying he’d be “mad” to not include Wayne Rooney in the squad for Manchester United’s attempt at toppling the trophy machine that is Bayern Munich.
Also in that hint was a note that if they were to play him, England fans wouldn’t need worry about any risks to his health for the World Cup. Rooney is suffering from a chipped bone in his left foot and could need an injection to dull the pain if he indeed starts.
Four years ago, Rooney injured his ankle in this very venue which greatly hampered his performance in the 2010 World Cup that summer.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday