Rooney doubtful for Anfield showdown

LONDON - Brief news from the English Premier League before this weekend's matches:

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is struggling with a calf injury though manager Alex Ferguson said the England international was eager to face rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

"He is always desperate to play, that's the nature of the boy," Ferguson told the club's website on Friday. "It's going to be important how he does in training on Saturday."

Midfielder Darren Fletcher is also a doubt for United, but defender Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs, who both missed the team's Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, have been passed fit.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is waiting on injuries to captain Steven Gerrard, striker Fernando Torres and defender Glen Johnson ahead of Sunday's match.

Gerrard limped off before the half hour mark during his team's 2-1 loss at home to Olympique Lyon in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Torres and Johnson missed the match.

Chelsea will be without manager Carlo Ancelotti, who has returned to Italy because his father is ill, while players Jose Bosingwa, Yuri Zhirkov and John Obi Mikel are all doubts for the London club's match against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

"I spoke to Carlo last night, his father was stable and we are keeping our fingers crossed, our thoughts are with him," assistant manager Ray Wilkins told the club's website.

Arsenal could have Croatia striker Eduardo back for their visit to fellow London club West Ham United on Sunday.

Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky are doubts however, while England winger Theo Walcott (knee) remains sidelined.

Manchester City forward Robinho faces another two weeks out after his recovery from a stress fracture of his ankle suffered a setback.

Tottenham Hotspur could have defender Jonathan Woodgate back for their game against Stoke City on Saturday.

"Jonathan came through the friendly okay and it was great to get a full game into him," manager Harry Redknapp told the club's website on Friday.

"Michael Dawson also played 90 minutes in that match and both of them are ready to play."

Jermain Defoe, serving the first of a three-match suspension following his red card at Portsmouth last Saturday, Giovani dos Santos (ankle) and Luka Modric (fractured fibula) are all out.

In-form Sunderland could have striker Kenwyne Jones back for their trip to Birmingham City on Saturday.