Jose Mourinho is concerned about Belgium’s plans to play Romelu Lukaku in a meaningless World Cup qualifier against Cyprus on Tuesday – less than four days before Manchester United face Liverpool.
Lukaku missed Belgium’s win over Bosnia at the weekend with an ankle injury, but manager Roberto Martinez confirmed on Monday night that he is ‘100 per cent for and available’ for selection after returning to training with the squad in Brussels.
Belgium have already qualified for the World Cup finals as group winners and Mourinho is understood to be wary of his top scorer playing in a dead rubber against Cyprus so close to the Liverpool game at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.
Jose Mourinho is concerned about Belgium’s plans to play Romelu Lukaku on Tuesday
Lukaku and his team are set to take on Cyprus in a meaningless World Cup qualifier
However, he will not interfere having insisted 10 days ago that the decision was down to Martinez.
‘Romelu is fit and available, he’s training with us tonight,’ said Martinez. ‘And, no, I have not received a call from Mourinho. The reason he wasn’t in the squad in the previous game was because he wasn’t 100 per cent.
‘Now he is 100 per cent but we need to take into consideration that he has been with the group for only one session. He’s been working on an individual basis, really good work, but we need to keep that in mind.’
Lukaku has scored 11 goals in 10 games since moving to Old Trafford for £75million in the summer, and Mourinho will be desperate for the former Everton striker to be fit to face United’s bitter rivals in one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of the season.
Roberto Martinez confirmed on Monday night that Lukaku is ‘100 per cent for and available’
Mourinho will be even more anxious that Lukaku avoids aggravating the injury after Marouane Fellaini was ruled out of the Liverpool game due to the knee injury he sustained in Belgium’s win over Bosnia on Saturday.
Fellaini strained the medial ligament in his left knee after landing awkwardly on an awful pitch in Sarajevo and returned to Carrington on Monday for treatment. He is expected to be out for at least two weeks.
Martinez confirmed that he has not spoken to Mourinho directly about Fellaini but had informed United’s medical staff of the injury.
He added: ‘He needs a further test with his club, but the swelling has to disappear completely to know for sure.’
Lukaku and Eden Hazard chat during Monday’s training session in Belgium