United face rivals Liverpool with Rooney in good shape

MANCHESTER (Reuters) - Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is in good shape mentally and physically as the Premier League champions prepare to face bitter rivals Liverpool this weekend, manager David Moyes said on Friday.

The England international was United's best player in a poor 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea on Monday and the speculation over a possible move to Jose Mourinho's team has subsided in recent days after Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o joined the London club.

"He played very well the other night and he's looking in good condition and mentally he is in good shape," Moyes told a news conference.

"So we're doing everything we possibly can to keep that going and we need him to keep performing well and at the moment, he's in good shape."

Having shared the points with title rivals Chelsea, United face another stiff test in their tricky start to the season when they travel to Anfield on Sunday (1230 GMT).

As a former Everton manager before he took over from Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford last month, Moyes has tasted plenty of animosity from the red half of Merseyside before as has his former charge Rooney.

It is a different rivalry, less about geography - although that is also part of it - and more about trophies with United having overtaken Liverpool by winning the English league 20 times to their 18.

Liverpool, meanwhile, boast more European Cups with five compared to United's three.

"Everybody tells me (there is) the big rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool, it was certainly that when it was Everton as well so I'm looking forward to it," Moyes said.

"Part of coming to Manchester United is to be involved in these type of games."

Rooney, who has played second fiddle to Robin van Persie since the Dutchman's arrival last year, did enough on Monday to suggest he will be involved at Liverpool, who have taken six points from their first two games compared to United's four.

"Wayne Rooney has been a great player for many years for Manchester United," Moyes said. "He was an up-and-coming great player when he was with me at Everton as a young boy and his career has gone exactly the way that people expected it to go."

Chelsea's public pursuit of Rooney has cooled off since Monday when Mourinho gave the forward 48 hours in which to either commit to United or express a desire to leave.

The Londoners, who take on European champions Bayern Munich later on Friday in the UEFA Super Cup, have since boosted their striking options by bringing in Eto'o from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday.

United's own transfer business has been minimal, having only acquired young Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela, and Moyes was hoping to still add to his squad before the window shuts on Monday.

"I don't know how busy it's going to be but it's a busy football market," he said.

"It might be busy in the next few days and I hope we do a little bit of business but I couldn't guarantee that."

(Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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