>Klopp offers kind words to off-form United skipper ahead of Anfield clash <
quality and know about his value for each team he plays in.”
Despite Klopp’s kind words, Rooney may well have to settle for a place among the substitutes again as United seek to deny Liverpool a victory that would see the Merseysiders go level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.
As well as Rooney’s form, another sub-plot that has emerged in the build-up to the game concerns referee Anthony Taylor.
The fact Taylor is based in Manchester has led to complaints about the official’s objectivity, even though he supports nonleague Altrincham.
Former top-flight referee Keith Hackett said Taylor should not have been put in charge of the match as the “focus on him would be intolerable” should he make an error.
Meanwhile some Liverpool fans have suggested that Taylor ought to get the same treatment as Kevin Friend.
The Leicester-based referee was removed from Tottenham’s game at Stoke in April, with Spurs then battling the Foxes, the eventual champions, for the title, in order to prevent accusations of bias.
A concerned Mourinho, not averse to criticising referees, suggested the pre-match scrutiny had done Taylor few favours.
“I think Taylor is a very good referee but I think somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him that I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance,” he said.
Liverpool go into Monday’s game seeking to end a run of four straight League defeats against their bitter northwest rivals, but having also knocked United out of last season’s Europa League.
Klopp, whose team left it late to gain a 2-1 victory at Swansea in their last League match, is hopeful that Georginio Wijnaldum (hip) and Adam Lallana (groin) will recover from injury problems in time to feature tomorrow.
Mourinho is hopeful that leftback Luke Shaw (groin) and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan (thigh) will be available to play at Anfield following their recent injuries.
United suffered a run of three successive defeats last month had consecutive wins across three competitions against Northampton, Leicester and Zorya Luhansk calmed the panic, although a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke before the international break stalled the recovery.
Mourinho, who has won one and lost three of his previous five meetings with Klopp, will hope for an improvement at Anfield.
United forward Jesse Lingard, seeking to maintain personal momentum after he made his England debut during the recent international break, said: “It’ll be tough because they (Liverpool) have got a lot talent in their group, but we know we’ve got talent in our own ranks.
“We’ll be pushing to win the game as it’s always good to get one over your rivals.” – AFP
Manchester City’s Nolito (centre) scores past Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg during Saturday’s English Premier match at the Etihad Stadium. –