Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says referee Anthony Taylor will find taking charge of his side’s Premier League game at Liverpool “difficult”.
The appointment of Manchester-based Taylor for Monday’s game was criticised by Keith Hackett, the ex-head of the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd.
The decision has also been questioned by Liverpool fans on social media.
Mourinho says “somebody with intention is putting such a pressure” on Taylor, who supports non-league Altrincham.
Similar scrutiny last season led to the removal of Leicester-based official Kevin Friend from Tottenham’s game at Stoke, when Spurs and the Foxes were both going for the title.
Mourinho, who replaced Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford in the summer, described Taylor, 37, as “a very good referee”.
However, the 53-year-old Portuguese added: “I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance.”