• Premier League

Rooney: Liverpool success hurts

ESPN staff
March 12, 2014
Manchester United trail Liverpool by 11 points this season © Getty Images

Wayne Rooney says he is hurting from seeing bitter rivals Liverpool fight it out for the Premier League while Manchester United are an afterthought in the title race.

Brendan Rodgers' second-placed side are currently seven points off leaders Chelsea with a game in hand and travel to Old Trafford to face United on Sunday.

Rooney's run-ins with Liverpool

Wayne Rooney has beaten Liverpool 10 times with Manchester United © Getty Images
  • Wayne Rooney in March 2009: "I grew up as an Everton fan hating Liverpool - and that hasn't changed." Manchester United removed the comments from their official website.
  • October 2011: "We [Everton] didn't win many [at Anfield]. Before I used to feel sick I was so nervous. If you lost the game, it was dreadful having to go back to school and facing your mates who were Liverpool fans."
  • July 2011 (on Liverpool's pre-season tour in Malaysia): "The lad who went to watch Liverpool train in MUFC top with my name on the back is a legend."
  • May 2011 (responding to an abusive Liverpool fan on Twitter): "I'll put u asleep within 10 seconds u little girl. Don't say stuff and not follow up on it. I'll be waiting".
  • May 2011 (after scoring the penalty that secured United's record 19th title): "A scouser knocks Liverpool of there perch. Haha. An evertoniian aswell. Yes. People. U can't imagine how happy I am tonight. Believe". Rooney later tweeted: "Utd til I die. Everton til I die. Believe. Come together. The beatles. Leg."
  • In 21 appearances against Liverpool for United and Everton, Rooney has just four goals.
  • Rooney scored United's winner in their 1-0 victory at Anfield in January 2005 - and had a phone thrown at him from the crowd as he celebrated with his hands cupped to his ears.
  • He scored both in United's 2-1 victory at Old Trafford in February 2011, his 500th game for club and country.
  • For United, Rooney has won 10, drawn two and lost five of his 17 games against Liverpool.

But Rooney's side are a distant 18 points off the top and and are facing the huge disappointment of failing to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Manchester City occupy fourth spot, the lowest rung United would have been prepared to accept at the start of the season, and are nine points ahead of their neighbours.them with two games in hand - and Rooney admits seeing United's neighbours lift the League Cup and contend for the title also makes for painful viewing.

"To see City doing well, and particularly Liverpool, is really difficult," Rooney told club magazine Inside United.

"It's not nice when we know we are capable of being up there challenging and we haven't been doing that this season.

"However, it means we have to step up and get back up there because the feeling we've had this season is not a nice feeling at all to have.

"We have to keep working, keep progressing and finish the season stronger."

United cantered to their 20th league title by a margin of 11 points last season, but have struggled in David Moyes' first campaign since replacing the retired Sir Alex Ferguson.

Moyes has taken plenty of flak for United's poor season, which also sees them facing an uphill task to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals after a 2-0 defeat to Olympiakos in their last-16 first leg.

However Rooney has placed the blame squarely on the players' shoulders.

He said: "As a group of players and a team we haven't been good enough this season and we have to put that right.

"After Sir Alex being here for 26 years, there was always going to be a change whoever came in and, in fairness, I think the players have to do better.

"Hopefully we can make the top four but, if not, we will still come back firing for next season."

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