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Klopp Praises Wayne Rooney Ahead of Merseyside Derby

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The boss is complimentary towards former Manchester United star and current Everton main man, Wayne Rooney.

Everton v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

The Merseyside derby always invokes high emotions, from the fans in the stadium and watching around the globe, to the players on the pitch. Red cards and dirty tackles are part-and-parcel of this high intensity match.

When the Toffees walk out onto Anfield tomorrow (if, in fact, they do walk out tomorrow and it’s not postponed by the snow storm headed towards the northwest) no player will face the ire of the Liverpool fans more than Wayne Rooney.

The Scouser, who’s spent his career playing for Liverpool rivals Everton and Manchester United, will play in his first derby as a blue since returning to Everton in the summer.

Ahead of the match, though, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hd some kind words to say about Everton’s 32-year-old main man.

"When I was in Germany he was an outstanding big player," Klopp said.

"I had no idea whether there was criticism in England or whether he didn't get the credit for all the things he did for Man United and England. I have no clue. Since I've been here, he didn't have the best time at Man United but he still scored the winner against us. He's still a fantastic player and he's shown that.

"I'm not sure if it's allowed but I like Wayne Rooney as a person. I've always liked him as a player.”

Klopp finished by saying, "I have all the respect you need for playing against this football team. But it's not about what I say. We need to show that respect on the pitch by defending in the right way and playing them in the right way."

Liverpool’s defense has been experiencing a bit of a Renaissance in recent weeks. Even taking into account the poor performance against Sevilla, Liverpool have only allowed six goals in the nine games they’ve played since their hammering against Spurs in October.

If all goes to plan, the Merseyside derby will kick off at Anfield tomorrow at 2:15 PM GMT/9:15 AM EST.