Papers: Owen stands firm
Owen expects hostile Anfield reception
Michael Owen has accepted that he will get a hostile reception when he returns to Liverpool as a Manchester United player this weekend but insisted that he does not believe he let down his first club by joining their fiercest rivals. Owen is acutely aware that many supporters at Anfield cannot forgive him for switching allegiances to United, but the striker considers it unfair for him to be accused of disloyalty. To illustrate the point, he said he planned to celebrate as normal if he scored in Sunday's game. "I'm human," said Owen. "I'd prefer people to sit down and recognise what you did for them and for the team in years gone past but I'm pretty realistic as well. Now that I'm playing for their local rivals – I'm not holding my breath, put it that way. People talk about loyalty in football, and for a football supporter it's easy to preach about that. As a father and a brother and a son there's no one more loyal than me. But when you're a player, you're not a fan. I've got to earn a living, provide for my family."Daniel Taylor, The Guardian
Meanwhile, the Guardian speculates that Sir Alex may leave Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Darren Fletcher behind when the team fly to Russia for Wednesday's Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow to ensure they are fit for the Liverpool game.
In other news, the Daily Mail reports that Sir Alex may be given a five-match touchline ban following his comments about referee Alan Wiley's performance against Sunderland.