Consistent knee troubles have reduced the Belgian to just one start since September and Mourinho claimed that his latest knock, sustained against Tottenham Hotspur on January 31, would keep him out until late March.
Bailly, on the other hand, has made cameos against Huddersfield Town and Chelsea in recent weeks following his long layoff due to ankle ligament damage.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the clash with Jurgen Klopp’s men, Mourinho confirmed that the pair were fit to play a part.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 9, 2018
You get the feeling that Chris Smalling, should he start, would most definitely afford Mohamed Salah at least one chance. And you can be sure the Egyptian, who has 32 goals this season, will take it.
The Englishman has a habit of engendering a wider sense of discomfort in the team through his general shakiness in possession, and Mourinho simply cannot afford that against a side with such firepower. He will need Bailly, on what would be his first start since November, to shut Liverpool out and frustrate them.
Meanwhile, the prospect of Fellaini returning as well gives Mourinho a crucial alternative dynamic from the bench should he need it. The Belgian’s powerful presence in the box helped create the winner for Wayne Rooney at Anfield in 2016 and the equaliser for Zlatan Ibrahimovic last year, after all, and he may well have an unexpected hand in determining the latest meeting between the two sides.