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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Dalglish fires opening shot

Andy Hunter

Kenny Dalglish has prepared for the visit of Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney to Anfield today by accusing "the ones who shout loudest" of receiving preferential treatment from referees and undermining the English FA's Respect campaign.

The Manchester United manager is to defend himself against a charge of improper conduct brought against him following comments about the referee Martin Atkinson at Chelsea last Tuesday and has Rooney available for today's game with Liverpool despite elbowing James McCarthy at Wigan.

Rooney is free to assist United's pursuit of a record 19th league title, one more than Liverpool, after referee Mark Clattenburg prevented the FA taking retrospective action by insisting he handled the incident correctly.

Dalglish did not mention United or Ferguson in his allegation of double standards but, while indicating that Liverpool could withdraw their co-operation from the Respect campaign, he conceded that recent events had fuelled his frustration.

"There has been a theme about referees for most of this week," the Liverpool manager said. "When I came back in we were made aware of the Respect campaign that is there to help referees and which, obviously, we have adhered to. We have never come out and criticised the referees after games.

"It is difficult for them not to make mistakes but if we are going to respect the campaign and we are the ones adhering to it, then I just hope that we are not the ones who are suffering.

"Sometimes you think that the ones who shout loudest are the ones who get the more beneficial decisions and that would be totally unfair. We will respect the campaign as long as we think that we won't be suffering in any way, shape or form. Right at this particular moment I cannot say it is particularly true that we haven't suffered. We will try our best to maintain our dignity and respect for referees but we would also like to think they would show us respect for going along with the guidelines of the campaign."

Dalglish's first game back in charge of Liverpool, in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in January, produced a first-minute penalty for United and an early red card for Steven Gerrard from referee Howard Webb. The Liverpool manager also believes the authorities have been unfair and inconsistent in punishing match officials. "We had an incident at Wolves where the lady official [Sian Massey] gave a decision that proved to be correct and she was left out of games thereafter," he added. "Why? She did nothing wrong. Now somebody was publicised during the week there, without mentioning any particular incident, and what happens to them? They just continue."

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