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I love his attitude, I love his character - Mourinho lavishes praise on Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku lived up to his self-styled "sergeant" tag with an emergency stint at centre-back during Manchester United's 3-2 win at Crystal Palace.

Belgium striker Lukaku netted the equaliser at Selhurst Park on Monday before Nemanja Matic's stunning long-range strike sealed a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down in stoppage time.

Jose Mourinho had already used his three substitutions by that stage and responded by asking Lukaku – who described himself as the United boss' "sergeant on the field" this week – to drop in as an extra central defender.

"He is an important guy for me," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Saturday's crunch Premier League clash against rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford.

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"He is one of the guys that I trust. I love the attitude, I love the character. Against Crystal Palace there was nothing that happened after our third goal.

"I told him 'central defender' and after the third goal he was playing in a back five with [Chris] Smalling and [Victor] Lindelof because I couldn't make any more changes.

"When I say to the striker, 'go there and do the job for me' he is a sergeant. He is someone you can trust. His attitude is phenomenal.

"It's not just about the goals he scores; it is about when he brings to the team. That spirit."

Eric Bailly, a far more conventional central defender, is back to full fitness for United this weekend, while Marouane Fellani is set to return after his latest spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.