Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that winger Angel Di Maria will not feature in Sunday's game against Liverpool with a hamstring injury, but he is happy the club's injury problems are improving.
Di Maria suffered a hamstring injury during the 3-0 win over Hull at Old Trafford and the £59.7 million signing has been forced to miss the last two games against Stoke and Southampton.
Chris Smalling suffered a tear to his groin in the 2-1 win over Southampton on Monday night but van Gaal expects the defender to be missing for only two weeks.
The United manager told a press conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford: "We have only four players injured so that is better than ever.
"Only (Luke) Shaw, (Chris) Smalling, Di Maria and (Daley) Blind (are out)."
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"As I have said already last week, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and I believe that by the end of December maybe we shall only have three or four injuries.
On Smalling, van Gaal said: "It’s not so heavy an injury, he was very wise to stop immediately. I think it shall take two weeks.
Defenders Rafael and Phil Jones are both back from their long-term groin and shin injuries and striker Radamel Falcao, who has been struggling with his fitness in recent weeks could also feature against Liverpool.
Van Gaal says his players deserve credit for their five-match winning run that has taken them into third place in the Premier League table.
"I think the Premier League is not so easy, I also have the experience that every game that we have to play against clubs at the bottom of the league it is very difficult to beat," he added.
The Dutchman says that assistant manager Ryan Giggs has been a big help in preparing the squad for the clash with bitter rivals Liverpool.
"I have an assistant manager in Ryan Giggs, and he presented an analysis of Liverpool and he did it in a marvellous way, so I'm very pleased.
"I will not tell you (what it included) but I can assure you that it was marvellous."
Van Gaal says he has some sympathy for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and diplomatically stated that Liverpool had merely been the victim of bad fortune so far this season.
"In the last matches of Liverpool, they were a little bit unlucky," the 63-year-old said.
"You have to survive that; you have to manage that. We have managed our first five matches, so I'm very pleased with that in spite of our list of injuries. That is very good, I think. As a manager, you have to give a lot of credit to
the players because it's not so easy."
Watch Manchester United take on Liverpool as part of Super Sunday - coverage starts on Sky Sports 1 HD at 12:30pm.