Days after emerging unscathed from his first big test as Manchester United boss with a goalless draw against Chelsea, David Moyes will now attempt to accomplish something that eluded him in 11 years as Everton manager: win at Anfield.
It has been one of the main sticks used to attack Moyes’ ascension to one of the biggest jobs in the game that he was never able to taste victory away from home at any of the traditional top four of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and United. The Scot is fully aware that such a record will not be tolerated in his new role.
While he became accustomed to the fierce atmosphere of Merseyside derbies, Moyes is looking forward to his first taste of the historic rivalry between England’s two historically most successful clubs.
"Anfield has always been a difficult place to go," Moyes said, according to Manchester United’s official website. "It's a great stadium and I'm looking forward to going back there.
"[In some ways it's] no different to any other game as you can only get three points for a win but it'd be a big win if we can do that. Liverpool are one of the strong teams this season so if we can do that it can be a good start.
"I don't know [if it will be different going there with United] as I've not been involved in it yet. Everyone tells me it's a big rivalry, Liverpool and United, and it was like that with Everton as well. I'm looking forward to the game and part of coming to Manchester United is to be involved in these types of games."
Moyes’ predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, achieved his objective of knocking Liverpool firmly off their perch. Brendan Rodgers’ main objective is to now return the Merseysiders back to the Europe’s elite in the Champions League. And, after a season of beginning to implement his ideas last season, Liverpool have begun this campaign impressively with back-to-back victories. But Rodgers has claimed that his ambitions do not end there.
“We're not entering the league just to be fourth," Rodgers told the BBC. "Winning the league is about the best team not just the best players. That's our challenge.
"It's important for Liverpool to be up there; I think it's important for football for Liverpool to be there because this is one of the biggest clubs in the world. But it doesn't give you a divine right.”
Liverpool beat Notts County after extra time in the Capital One Cup in midweek but paid a heavy price. While Kolo Toure’s and Joe Allen’s injuries were not as bad as first feared, both seem unlikely to be fit for the weekend. Recent loan signing Aly Cissokho, meanwhile, could be up for up to six weeks.
Manchester United are in better health, with right-back Rafael the only injury doubt. Nani and Javier Hernandez could be involved for the first time this season.
D: Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique
M: Gerrard, Lucas
Aspas, Henderson, Coutinho
Manchester United (probable)
G: De Gea
D: Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
M: Carrick, Cleverley
Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck
F: Van Persie
Prediction: Moyes’ priority against Chelsea appeared to be to not lose the contest and it could be a similar scenario at Anfield. Liverpool should enjoy plenty of possession and will look to use the skill and movement of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas to try and penetrate a strong United defense. Liverpool struggled against the top sides last season and, after a positive start to this campaign, this represents their first real test. Both sides may ultimately be reasonably happy to emerge with a point.
Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
Where to watch: The Barclays Premier League match will kick-off at 8.30 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by NBCSN, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.