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Premier League Mourinho weighs up Rooney recall for Liverpool clash

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Jose Mourinho faces one of the biggest decisions of his Manchester United reign as he weighs up whether to recall Wayne Rooney for the Premier League clash with bitter rivals Liverpool.

Given Wayne Rooney's experience and track record in big games if Jose Mourinho does leave him out for a significant fixture it will cement the striker's diminished status in the Old Trafford pecking order play

Given Wayne Rooney's experience and track record in big games if Jose Mourinho does leave him out for a significant fixture it will cement the striker's diminished status in the Old Trafford pecking order

(AFP/File)

Rooney has endured a miserable few weeks after being dropped by United and England.

The 30-year-old's troubles have led to a debate about whether he should be used in midfield instead of his long-time role as a striker, while some critics claim he is no longer worthy of his place with club or country.

After crushing Leicester in their first match without Rooney, United were less impressive in a draw against lowly Stoke and Mourinho might be tempted to bring him back at Anfield on Monday.

Given Rooney's experience and track record in big games -- he scored the winner at Liverpool last season -- if Mourinho does leave him out for such a significant fixture it will cement the striker's diminished status in the Old Trafford pecking order.

Dwight Yorke, a Champions League and Premier League winner during his time with United, has no doubts Rooney is still a force to be reckoned with.

"People in football have such bloody short memories. He just has to get his confidence back and play in the manner we're used to seeing, banging in goals. Then everyone will be singing his praises again," Yorke said.

After losing their last four league meetings with United, Liverpool have a chance to make a statement about their title credentials.

Jurgen Klopp's side have won four successive matches to climb to fourth place, and are hoping for a different result to the one he experienced when he first took them on after he became Liverpool manager last season.

"My first Premier League game against United was a good game from my side, we could have won this game but we didn't because Wayne Rooney scored," he added.

"It will never, for as long as I live, just be a normal game."

Leaders Manchester City will bid to bounce back from the first defeat of Pep Guardiola's reign when they host Everton.

The Spaniard will be hoping striker Sergio Aguero shakes off the virulent criticism he received from the Argentinian press after he missed a penalty in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat by Paraguay in a World Cup qualifier.

"It can make you stronger, you can put up with it, or else you better find something else to do,? said Guardiola.

Tottenham -- who inflicted City's first defeat with a 2-0 win a fortnight ago -- hold the top flight's last unbeaten record as they travel to West Bromwich Albion.

Mauricio Pochettino's second-placed team are only one point behind City thanks to four consecutive victories.

Criticism

However, Pochettino while delighted by the win over Spurs says it could have come at the wrong time as it pre-empted the international break and some of his players are returning after disappointing results.

"Christian Eriksen is coming back very disappointed with the last result (for Denmark), like the England players (0-0 draw with Slovenia).

"Now our job is to be more than coaches, it is to be psychologists too."

Swansea, without a win since the opening day of the season, travel to Arsenal for their first match under new manager Bob Bradley.

Bradley's appointment as replacement for the sacked Francesco Guidolin drew criticism in some quarters and the former USA and Egypt coach could do without a drubbing at in-form Arsenal, who have climbed to third place after five successive wins.

Arsenal's title bid was shattered by a 2-1 defeat against Swansea last season and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger wants his squad to show how much they have improved.

"We had a very negative experience with Swansea, who killed our opportunity to win the Premier League," he said.

"Now we have a good opportunity to show we can deal with fixtures where we are favourites."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has dismissed talk of him being sacked -- betting was suspended on him being fired -- but a win over struggling champions Leicester would do him no harm.

"I take this with a smile. I'm trying to find who bet the money!" said Conte on Friday.

"It's very difficult to talk about this situation. I'm focused about my work. I'm focused to improve the team. "

Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)

Saturday

Arsenal v Swansea, Bournemouth v Hull, Chelsea v Leicester (1130 GMT), Crystal Palace v West Ham (1630 GMT), Manchester City v Everton, Stoke v Sunderland, West Brom v Tottenham

Sunday

Middlesbrough v Watford (1230 GMT), Southampton v Burnley (1500 GMT)

Monday

Liverpool v Manchester United (1900 GMT)

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