Smalling went down injured during United’s game with Southampton on Monday and had to be immediately substituted with what Louis van Gaal suspected to be a muscle tear.
Jonny Evans returned to action against Southampton but was noticeably rusty having not played for some time and Van Gaal may be forced to start Michael Carrick in defence this weekend if he isn’t confident Evans can improve.
For Smalling, it’s another case of one step forward and two steps back. Since returning from his red card suspension after Manchester City, he put in some great performances alongside Marcos Rojo and, if only for two games, United had a solid looking centre back partnership.
United’s injury curse this season continues to have more peaks than troughs and with Smalling out for two weeks, United will probably line up with another new back four against Liverpool.