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Ferguson defends Rooney's 'hatred' of Liverpool

Sir Alex Ferguson has defended Wayne Rooney's statement that he hates Liverpool ahead of Manchester United's showdown with the Merseyside club tomorrow afternoon. The England striker made the comments on MUTV in the wake of his side's 2-0 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.

"Hate is an easy word to say, easier than dislike. Maybe it is not the right word," Ferguson told reporters. "But Wayne has had plenty of stick from Liverpool fans over the years, so it is understandable. He supported Everton as a kid and the rivalry between them and Liverpool is pretty ferocious now. Since then he has come to Manchester United and he wants to win. It is nothing out of the ordinary really."

A win tomorrow for United would all but end Liverpool's slim title hopes leaving Sir Alex Ferguson's team streets ahead of their closest challengers with just nine games left before the end of the season. Liverpool will be hoping that they can produce a performance to match their stunning 4-0 over Real Madrid on Tuesday.

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