It’s the game of this Premier League season on Sunday, as Manchester United take on Liverpool with the carrot of ending the weekend six points ahead of the current champions.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will undoubtedly have something to say about that, in a fixture which promises much.
Former Liverpool stalwart and now Sky Sports pundit, Graeme Souness, is concerned about the current form of the Reds ahead of the fixture.
“Liverpool are huffing and puffing, that is a fact, it’s not me picking a dramatic statement out of the sky,” he said to Sky Sports.
“They are not the same team, not finding the same consistency, but they sit second in the league.
“They will think that even with them not being at it, they are still second and very much in the fight. But if there’s one game United want to win, or one game Liverpool want to win, this is the one.
“The rivalry is enormous and has always been there; they are two monstrous football clubs with monstrous successes behind them.
“I think for the first time Liverpool will go into the game nervous. For the last two years it has been non-stop plaudits for them, and correctly so because the football has been magnificent. But that has not been there this season, consistently. That’s why they’ve dropped points you wouldn’t have imagined them to.
“For United, they’re going to Anfield at a good time. I don’t think there is a better time. Liverpool are searching for consistency, and that was one word you’d have attached to them for the past three years.
“Their consistency levels have been fantastic, and that’s why they’ve won some big trophies.
Whilst Souness clearly has reservations, he’s also under no illusions that Liverpool will have what it takes to keep Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in touching distance.
“[…] If this was any point in the last five years, I’d predict Liverpool to win all day long. I can’t say that this time around because there is a concern in the middle of defence, and I see them being vulnerable there,” he added.
“[…] It’s a difficult one to call, but I have to believe Liverpool will turn up on the day, Alisson will have a very good day, the back four will hold tight, and Liverpool will just have too much for them on the day.”
On current form, the Red Devils would appear to have a slight edge, albeit this is the first time in years that they’ll be feeling the pressure of sitting atop the table.
Klopp’s men have been there or thereabouts for the last couple of seasons and so know all about what it takes to build up a head of steam from this point onwards.