Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Manchester United can always expect to feel the pressure ahead of his side’s trip to Old Trafford on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal’s United drew with Newcastle and lost to Swansea City prior to the international break, although they have been boosted by the news that David de Gea signed a new long-term contract on Friday.
But Rodgers said on Friday: “United is a huge club and will always be under scrutiny. The intensity of this fixture is still there. The players will feel it.
“This is the biggest derby game in the history of this league. Winning a game like this can give you psychological boost.”
Rodgers admitted that a lack of preparation following the international break is a concern but is confident his team can bounce back from their shock 3-0 home defeat to West Ham.
“We’ve had two tough games away from home [against Arsenal and Stoke City] and performed well in terms of our organisation. We also want to be really creative,” he added.
“It’s a good opportunity for us on the back of a disappointment. It’s a chance to put that behind us. The players are focused and we will be ready for it.”
Rodgers confirmed Daniel Sturridge is not yet ready to return to match action, with captain Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana facing late fitness tests.
The Northern Irishman continued: “Sturridge returned to training but we’ve got no timeline on when he will play in games. We’ll see about Henderson and Lallana over the next 24 hours.
“Our tally of goals will increase as the team improves over course of the season. Daniel coming back into the fold will help that.
“We can never say [if he has overcome his injury problems]. We’ll take it day by day.”
Rodgers also refused to single out Dejan Lovren for blame for the West Ham defeat after the centre-back’s mistake led to the Hammers’ crucial second goal.
“Dejan knows we performed below our level in that game. He knows he made a mistake but it was about the collective,” he added.
“In his first three games this season, Dejan showed he has the quality and the consistency to perform well.”
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