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SportMan United vs Liverpool: Old Trafford fans 'aren't stupid', Rooney says before...

Man United vs Liverpool: Old Trafford fans ‘aren’t stupid’, Rooney says before FA Cup quarter-final

Manchester United record scorer Wayne Rooney has told supporters they can make a “massive difference” when Liverpool visit Old Trafford on Sunday – but the former England striker says the players need to lift them from the start of the FA Cup quarter-final.

United beat the Reds 2-1 at home last season for their only victory in six editions of the fixture, but the title-challenging visitors are odds-on favourites to win the tie, having had 34 shots and eight of the nine on target when the teams shared a 0-0 draw at Anfield in their most recent encounter in December.

“Sometimes it is not all about entertaining football,” Rooney told a United squad who have underperformed this season, speaking to the club’s official website.

“It is about the fans seeing that you are willing to run and work hard for the team. You, as a team or a player, can create that [energy].

“Whether that is a centre-forward going to tackle a full-back, you can create that and the fans aren’t stupid. They see the players working hard and that’s what lifts the fans.”

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Erik ten Hag’s side are 17 points behind Liverpool in the league and six shy of Tottenham, who occupy the fifth position which is likely to ensure Uefa Champions League football in 2023/24.

The mood around Old Trafford has frequently been sour this season, with fans frustrated by results and performances including heavy defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion, arch-rivals Manchester City, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

United vs Liverpool: Fans ‘made difference’

A five-time Premier League winner during his 13 years at the club, Rooney recalled how he scored a 91st-minute winner in a 3-2 comeback win in the home first leg of United’s Champions League semi-final against AC Milan in 2007.

United lost the tie to the eventual champions 5-3 on aggregate but won the competition the following season.

“Certainly, in the big games and the big games in Europe as well, you can feel it,” the 38-year-old said of the atmosphere.

“There are certain games where the atmosphere and the fans, even though they might not think they [do], make a massive difference.

“That was a game where you could feel the fans pulling you towards the goal – and we got a late winner.”

The last match between the teams in the FA Cup, in the fourth round in 2021, ended in a 3-2 United home win.

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