Last updated : 17 September 2004 By editor

Sir Alex Ferguson has already predicted Van Nistelrooy will shatter plenty more records before his time at Old Trafford is over and, having now taken his overall United total to 112 in little more than three seasons, the former PSV Eindhoven forward will have Sir Bobby Charlton's club best 247 in his sights should he see out the remaining five years of his contract.

‘In theory, the arrivals of Louis Saha, Alan Smith and Wayne Rooney over the last nine months should help to take some of the scoring burden off Van Nistelrooy, who has often operated on his own up front since his £18.5 million transfer. Instead, by rescuing United from the brink of disaster in only his second game back from a hernia operation, the Dutchman merely emphasised his irreplaceable value to Ferguson's side.

‘Even though he is still less than 100 per cent fit, Van Nistelrooy poses a goal threat which cannot be contained easily, as Liverpool will be aware in the run-up to Monday's eagerly anticipated North-West derby. Clearly, what Van Nistelrooy cannot do is solve the problems United are experiencing in other areas.’