Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez believes Manchester United rival Sir Alex Ferguson is indulging in mind games when demanding more protection for winger Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Sunday's big match.

Benitez said: "Ferguson is clever, that is clear. After a difficult game he was talking about referees and before an important game he is talking about protecting Ronaldo.

"The referees, though, have experience and they will know Ferguson. Treatment must be the same for all the teams and all the players.

"If you need to protect Ronaldo, you also need to protect Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard and all the skilful players in the League.

"I just want to go into the game with the same situation as the other team."

Asked if stopping Ronaldo would be the key on Sunday, Benitez said: "Maybe stopping Torres! No, they have a lot of good players, so it will be difficult if you just think about Ronaldo. We have to think about all of them. I think he's in form but Torres is, too."