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Jan 11, 2013

Rodgers approves of Webb appointment

Brendan Rodgers has hailed Howard Webb as "an excellent referee" and "a good, strong personality" ahead of Liverpool's Premier League trip to Manchester United on Sunday.

Webb will take charge of a fixture that has had more than its fair share of controversy in recent years. Mark Halsey sent off Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in the reverse fixture at Anfield in September, before awarding a disputed late penalty to United, which Robin van Persie converted for a 2-1 win.

The last 14 league and cup meetings between the sides have brought eight red cards, in addition to the eight-match ban handed to Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for racially abusing United left-back Patrice Evra in October 2011.

Rodgers, though, believes that Webb has the strength of character to handle the fixture.

Asked how important it was for the referee to have a good game on Sunday, Rodgers said: "It's very important. It didn't help us in the last game that we lost a man very quickly and we had a penalty decision go against us that I didn't think was a penalty, and ultimately that cost us the game.

"But Howard Webb's an excellent referee. He's got great experience. He's a good, strong personality on the field."

Webb last took charge of the fixture in January 2011, when he awarded United an early penalty - converted by Ryan Giggs for a 1-0 win - and then sent off Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in an FA Cup third-round tie at Old Trafford.

Rodgers added: "We hope, like Manchester United do I'm sure, that the game is decided by moments of quality rather than any sort of decision."

Full-back Jose Enrique remains out with a hamstring injury, but striker Fabio Borini will be included in the squad for the first time since October, having recovered from a broken bone in his foot.

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