Fergie urges Vidic, Smalling and Cleverley to be fit in time for Liverpool crunch

By Sportsmail Reporter

Sir Alex Ferguson has challenged his injured players to get back to match-fitness for Manchester United's clash at Anfield when the international break ends. 

United have three players - England duo Chris Smalling and Tom Cleverley, plus skipper Nemanja Vidic - who have a chance of being fit for the crucial Premier League visit to Liverpool on October 15.

Vidic has been out since suffering a calf strain in the opening day triumph at West Brom in August, whilst Smalling and Cleverley are battling to overcome groin and foot injuries respectively.

Big loss: Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has been out since August

Big loss: Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic has been out since August

However, Ferguson knows from past experience that merely being fit is not enough to warrant selection at Anfield. He also believes players must have an added edge to cope with such a tumultuous fixture.

'The most important thing is the work they do before the internationals finish,' Ferguson told MUTV. 'We really want to have Vidic and Cleverley doing some really strong work, and Smalling too, that would bring them on to a level that they could play at Anfield.

'You can't go there with players who are semi-fit or just coming back from injury. You need players who are fully focused and up to speed in terms of fitness and sharpness.'

Meanwhile, United midfielder Anderson has set himself a 10-goal target for the season. Famously, it took the 23-year-old 78 appearances to bag his first United goal. He only got one more in the next 17 months.

Working back to fitness: Tom Cleverley
Groin problem: Chris Smalling

Battling back: Midfielder Tom Cleverley (left) and defender Chris Smalling (right)

Now, he is on something of a hot streak. Anderson's header in Saturday's 2-0 win over Norwich at Old Trafford was his fifth in 11 appearances and helped preserve United's narrow advantage over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

'One particular aim is to score at least 10 goals,' said the former Porto star. 'I am going to try my very best to score more.'

With Paul Scholes now retired and watching from the stands, Anderson has been asked to play a major role for United by Ferguson this season.

He has now started nine of United's 11 games in all competitions this season and feels he is benefiting from the increased exposure.

'You can say it is my best start because I have never played five or six games consecutively at the beginning of the season,' he said. 'It's been great to stay in the side and help make a big contribution.

'I feel like this is my time now. I have trained well, looked after myself and the boss has given me a chance. It is important that I take it and show everyone why I am here.'

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