Date: 19th October 2009 at 6:32pm
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OK, ‘reserves’ may be an exaggeration but it’s certainly true that United return to the scene of the club’s greatest moment of the 21st century with a depleted squad. The Luzhniki Stadium saw United crowned champions of Europe in 2008 – now we go back with the aim of (virtually) securing progression from the group stages of the Champions League.

But we’re forced to attempt this without Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher, Patrice Evra and Ji-sung Park. The latter is hardly a key man but the preceding four… they certainly are. CSKA Moscow are very tough opponents but United can afford even a defeat here: two home wins will see us through to the next round almost certainly.

Therefore it is obvious that the Liverpool game takes precedence. It’s simply not worth risking Rooney, Giggs, Fletcher and Evra ahead of such a massively important game. I shudder to think how we will fare at Anfield if they do not recover in time…