David Moyes replaced Rafael with eight minutes remaining against West Brom and has confirmed it was a precaution in case he suffered damage to his ankle.
The 23-year-old was in inspired form at the Hawthorns and put in the sort of performance that made him one of Manchester United’s most improved players last season.
He almost scored himself and provided the cross for Wayne Rooney‘s goal in a fantastic showing and ahead of the Liverpool game, Moyes clearly wanted to make sure that he minimised any risk of injury for Rafael after a fantastic individual performance.
“I’ve got to mention Rafa,” Moyes told Manutd.com.
“He picked out a great cross for Wayne’s goal and was involved in the build-up to the first one as well. He probably should have scored one or two himself maybe when he got around the back in the first half.
“There were some really good performances in the team. Much better than I’ve seen for a while.
“I think he got a kick on the ankle. That is what I was told – he’d taken a kick in a tackle with 10 minutes to go. He was limping so I didn’t want to risk it any more.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 8, 2014
Rafael has had a tough time with injuries ever since being substituted in the Community Shield at the start of the season and in his absence, right-back has always been a bit of a weakness for Manchester United.
Ahead of a critical set of games, we really need Rafael fit because Chris Smalling isn’t an adequate replacement at right-back so hopefully Moyes’ decision to pull him off as a precaution paid off and he is fit in time for Liverpool next Sunday.