(Reuters) - Manchester United will approach Saturday’s high-profile Premier League meeting with bitter rivals Liverpool as they would any other match, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
United have made a strong start to the season and are second in the table behind Manchester City on goal difference. They have scored 21 goals and let in only two to sit on 19 points.
Ahead of a tricky test against seventh-placed Liverpool, who have struggled to plug leaks in defence but have shown plenty of attacking intent, Mourinho played down the importance of the clash at this stage in the season.
“When you are in a big club, when you are a big player, when you are a big manager, every game is important,” Mourinho was quoted by the club website on Wednesday as saying in TV interviews with British media.
“You cannot look at some matches as cup finals and other matches differently. For me, every match is a cup final and I’ve been like this all the time,” he added.
“It’s three points not four. If we are at a moment in a season where the duel between the two teams ensures the result will mean more than three points, then yes.
“Sometimes a draw or even to lose by a certain goal difference is important. In this case, it is not important. It’s just a three-point match. That’s the way I approach it.”
Mourinho has a good record against Liverpool and won his first trophy in English football by beating the Merseyside club to win the League Cup with Chelsea in 2005.
He has suffered some painful lows, however, against the Anfield outfit including Champions League semi-final defeats in 2005 and 2007.
The Portuguese said he was happy to travel to Anfield without any added pressure or emotion and looked forward to the clash.
“Do I like to go to Anfield? Yes, I love it. Do I like to play against Liverpool? Yes. I like amazing stadiums, the best opponents but the preparation is not different,” he said.
United will be without midfielder Marouane Fellaini who injured his knee while playing for Belgium, while Liverpool will miss the services of Sadio Mane, who is out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury he picked up on international duty.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis