Liverpool minority owner and Miami Heat star LeBron James will be in attendance at Anfield when the Reds host Manchester United on Saturday, but the famous basketball player's presence will not be the main attraction as a different forward will have more of the spotlight.
Wayne Rooney, one of the greatest players to have ever played for England, will be subjected to some loud taunts from the Anfield faithful who are not too pleased with his actions in a recent international match.
Rooney received a three-match suspension by UEFA on Thursday for his pointless and vicious foul on Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic in last week's qualifying match. The ban means the star forward will miss England's Euro 2012 group stage matches.
Liverpool fans are known for their rowdy behavior, and they have made their feelings for United well-known, so Rooney can expect to be a lightning rod for jeers for the entire match. Rooney has been particularly strong in 2011, so getting under the skin of the former Everton star might be a smart move regardless of his actions against Montenegro.
However, Liverpool may not need a psychological advantage as the Reds have been playing at a higher level in the past few weeks. Since getting thrashed by Tottenham. 4-0, at White Hart Lane on Sept. 18, Liverpool have won their last two Premier League matches, and their Carling Cup match.
The forward partnership of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll has proven to be a success, and judging by the lack of success of Fernando Torres at Chelsea, Liverpool appear to be making the right personnel changes.
Manager Kenny Dalglish appears to have his club headed in the right direction. Liverpool is currently just three points behind Chelsea for third place on the Premier League table.
Dalglish has a very healthy side, though he left open some comedic pessimism.
Everybody's fine. The three boys who came back from South America are all fine. It's only myself that's ill. I can't even get a game in a five-a-side, said Dalglish, to the Liverpool Web site. But it's only Thursday - we might get a couple (of injuries) tomorrow.
Glen Johnson, Martin Kelly, Daniel Agger and Fabio Aurelio were all questionable at one point, but now are hopeful of playing against United. Captain Steven Gerrard has yet to start a match this season, and Liverpool are taking a cautious approach to the midfielder, who is still expected to be in the starting 11 against the Red Devils.
While Dalglish no longer has serious injury woes, Sir Alex Ferguson has also received positive news this week. Centre back Nemanja Vidic and midfielder Tom Cleverley might be match-fit for Saturday. The possible return of Vidic would be quite welcomed as the Red Devils have had bad luck with Rio Ferdinand not being at 100 percent for stretches of the season, and since Rafael continues to be sidelined.
First-place Manchester United have won six of their seven Premier League matches, and their one blemish was a draw at Stoke. United is currently tied for first place with local rival Manchester City, and the two clubs meet on Oct. 23.
There is no chance that Ferguson will be look past Liverpool to the City match. Overcoming Liverpool at Anfield is always a challenge, even for Red Devils squad that has been particularly strong this season.
One of the reasons United has come as far as they have has been due to the play of Danny Welbeck. Though he has only three goals, Welbeck has given opposing defenses fits this season. Like Ashley Young and Phil Jones, Welbeck has made a very smooth transition to being a regular for United.
The last time Manchester United faced Liverpool at Anfield was on Mar. 6, 2011. Dirk Kuyt ran all over United in the Reds' 3-1 victory. If not for the Javier Hernandez goal in the 90th minute, Manchester United would have been shut out for the first time in about two months.
Even with United's potent offense, Liverpool has the ability to contain players like Rooney, Ryan Giggs, and Nani. They seem to rise to the occasion against United.
Liverpool have won the last three games against United at Anfield and four of the last six.
Ferguson's squad certainly know they have a tough challenge awaiting them on Saturday.