Chris Wilder gives Lys Mousset injury update after claiming Sheffield United trio's absence is bigger than Liverpool van Dijk blow
Chris Wilder has revealed when he expects striker Lys Mousset to step up his return from injury after suggesting that Sheffield United losing three key players is a relatively bigger blow than Virgil van Dijk's absence for Liverpool.
The Frenchman has missed United's start to this Premier League campaign after undergoing surgery on a rare toe injury he picked up in pre-season, while O'Connell and Fleck will both miss this weekend's trip to Anfield with knee and back injuries respectively.
But Wilder, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday evening's clash with the reigning Premier League champions, revealed that he is hoping to see Mousset back in full training in "six to eight weeks", while he is also waiting for a definitive prognosis on Max Lowe after the defender's debut against Fulham last weekend was cut short when he was taken off with concussion.
The Reds have injury problems of their own with van Dijk suffering a knee injury of his own and goalkeeper Alisson and defender Joel Matip also doubtful.
"There are always players that are going to be out injured, and it can affect consistency and rhythm," Wilder said.
"I'm not sure how much it will from their [Liverpool's] point of view, because they have world-class players to come in.
"We all want our best and most consistent team out there, and it doesn't make the task any easier. Their performance levels didn't dip last night [in the Champions League against Ajax] and I'm not expecting it to on Saturday."
Asked about the effect that van Dijk's injury will have on the Reds, Wilder said: "It's all relative.
"Us losing Fleck, Jack O'Connell and Lys is, I'd say, a bigger loss than losing van Dijk, relatively.
"All clubs go through these periods and situations.
"They still have world-class players and an academy that produces players all the time.
"And those three at the top of the pitch [Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino] can hurt anyone. So we have to play somewhere near our absolute maximum, to give ourselves any opportunity of getting a result."