Star United duo 'aware of threat'
Ferguson has admitted he faces a major selection dilemma ahead of Saturday's trip to Liverpool, with Vidic now recovered from the calf strain he suffered in the opening Premier League game at West Brom almost two months ago. Ferdinand will also be hopeful of a recall after starting the win over Norwich immediately before the international break on the bench. Yet, what once was an automatic decision about two central components of United's team is now anything but, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans all pressing their claims for a starting berth. "Rio and Nemanja are well aware they are going to have to play well to keep their places," said Ferguson. "Competition is so fierce now with these young lads coming through." For Ferdinand, there is the added complication of his place in Fabio Capello's Euro 2012 squad being in doubt. His failure to oust Jones and Evans from the team that faced Norwich looked to be central to Capello's thinking when he was omitted from the squad to face Montenegro last week. Ferdinand still wants to represent his country. But Ferguson concedes Capello might well be looking at an alternative strategy now. "Rio is back to his best form," said the Scot. "He has trained really well and his experience will be vital. "The England thing is unfortunate because he missed a couple of appearances through injury and maybe Fabio is looking to the future. "Some managers think that way. There is nothing wrong that." Ferdinand now has to prove his worth for United and hope for an England recall for next month's friendly clashes against Spain and Sweden. Vidic has none of those Euro 2012 concerns after Serbia were eliminated in midweek thanks to their shock defeat in Slovenia, when the United skipper missed a penalty. The 29-year-old has still to decide whether to quit international football such is his disappointment. However, the match itself might just have given Vidic a chance of being involved at Anfield given the time he has spent on the sidelines. "I spoke to Nemanja yesterday and it was probably the right type of game to come back in," said Ferguson. "He had to get a game sometime. He was training very well before that game and has come back feeling fine." It is an oddity that United have lost on their last three league visits to Anfield, when Darren Fletcher has been missing on each occasion. That points towards a starting berth for the Scot, although Ferguson feels external factors, namely the Anfield crowd, also play a part. Certainly United have had six players sent off on their last 13 visits, a large enough percentage to make Ferguson feel uneasy about the prospect of referee Andre Marriner having a bad game, since he was responsible for one of those red cards, for Vidic, in 2009. Not that Ferguson wished to offer an opinion on that. He has previously fallen foul of a rule that prevents managers speaking about referees before a game, as Fulham's Martin Jol has done already this week. "I'm not getting into that," laughed Ferguson. "We are not allowed to discuss referees. "Apparently, Martin Jol's got five years in prison for praising the referee."