Manchester United's Berbatov challenges Liverpool's Carragher during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Manchester United's Berbatov challenges Liverpool's Carragher during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester. Reuters

Click here to read the Live Coverage of the grudge-match between Liverpool and Manchester United!

The latest chapter of a grudge-match, which began many generations back, will be written on Sunday when Manchester United travel to Anfield to face their old-foe Liverpool.

The match is a must-win for both teams, simply due to the heavy rivalry that has built-up over the years. Ask any long-standing supporter of either club who they would rather see relegated, and you'll have your answer.

This time, the match has assumed further importance. Liverpool have an opportunity to derail their rival's attempt to win a 19th league title. If United do win the title this year, it would see Liverpool's own record of 18 league titles broken.

United are under pressure after a 2-1 loss at Chelsea saw them lead the table by just four points. Though second placed Arsenal's tie against Sunderland on Saturday cut the gap to three, the Gunners lost an incredible opportunity to close it further. Especially since, United have been shaky away from home all season, and have dropped 22 points on the road so far.

Against Chelsea, United displayed a first half performance which was probably their best all season. Bar the first 10 minutes, the Red Devils thoroughly deserved their 1-0 lead at half-time. However, they uncharacteristically lost their grip on the game, as Chelsea battled back impressively to equalize before Frank Lampard scored the winner from the spot. A major talking point was Chelsea goalscorer David Luiz's clinical tackle on Wayne Rooney while already on a yellow card. Referee Martin Atkinson missed the incident, but had he seen it, it would have been a sending-off for the Chelsea man. However, Ferguson blasted the referee and was subsequently charged with improper conduct.

The defeat was just one of United's problems. In the last few minutes of the game, United defender Namanja Vidic earned a second yellow card, meaning he will miss this tie against Liverpool. With Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans also injured, it gives Sir Alex Ferguson a problem at the heart of his defence. The young Chris Smalling, who has impressed so far, will be partnered by Wes Brown, who recently returned from injury. It is hardly the pairing one would go for while playing in one of the biggest rivalries in English football.

Having said that, Ferguson has a problem of another sort at the other end. With Wayne Rooney back in form and displaying natural understanding with Javier Hernandez, Ferguson started with pairing the two up front in a 4-4-1-1 in the last two games. The 67-year-old mastermind will have to figure out whether to stick with the two or bring on the league's top scorer Dimitar Berbatov for this tie.

United will be raring to go against Liverpool, but they will find themselves facing an equally stubborn opposition.

To play Liverpool at Anfield is probably a nightmare for any opposition. Such is the crowd's vociferous and passionate display of support for their club. When the opposition is Manchester United, the Kop's decibel levels will raise to the point of oblivion.

Liverpool started the Kenny Dalglish part-two era against Manchester United in the FA Cup on 9 Jan earlier this year. On that occasion, Liverpool lost 1-0 after skipper Steven Gerrard was sent off. In the corresponding fixture in the league, under the tutelage of Roy Hodgson, Liverpool battled back from 2-0 down with Steven Gerrard scoring a brace, but Berbatov's hat-trick meant Liverpool lost 3-2.

It is not just a rivalry between the clubs. What makes the tie more interesting this time around is the renewed rivalry between Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson, the roots of which lie during the playing days of the two in Glasgow. In the pre-match press conference, it's normally Ferguson who plays the mind games. Having said earlier in the week that his counterpart's mind games would be futile, Dalglish himself pulled a few mental strings when warning the officials not to get bullied by Fergie's loud claims for decisions, though he didn't mention his name.

Dalglish said, Sometimes I worry that the ones who shout the loudest get more beneficial decisions - and that is totally unfair. This week the theme has been about referees and I've got to say that when I came back in as manager I was made fully aware of the respect campaign with regard to officials. I think we have adhered to the campaign in every respect.

We have never come out and criticised match officials in any of our games. They have made mistakes in all of our games, but we've also made mistakes. It is impossible for officials not to make mistakes, but there is a respect campaign in football and I want to know whether we are going to be the only ones that adhere to it.

I hope that we aren't going to suffer as a club because we show respect to officials. We will continue to respect the campaign - but only as long as we don't suffer in any way, shape or form because of it.

At this particular moment, I don't think anyone can argue that we haven't suffered. We gave a good account of ourselves in the FA Cup tie at Old Trafford when we lost to a poor penalty decision made in the first minute and then had Steven Gerrard sent off.

We will try our best to retain our dignity and show respect to referees, but we would also like to think they give us the respect we deserve by at least trying to go along with the guidelines of the campaign. Everybody thinks they are hard done-by by referees - and you are at some stage - but sometimes you get some benefits as well.

Liverpool come to the game after seeing their revival falter a bit after a 3-1 loss at West Ham last week, before which they drew 1-1 at home against Wigan. However, if there is one game in which they will fight till the end, it is this. A Champions League place remains a distant dream, but they currently lie in seventh and could go up one place if they secure all three points.

They have been boosted by the news that their record buy - £35m man Andy Carroll - is fit for contention, while in-form Raul Meireles has also shaken off a minor injury. However, Dalglish will be without his young right-back Martin Kelly, meaning Glen Johnson will switch flanks.

With both teams having much to play for, for different reasons, it promises to be a classic.

Team News -

Liverpool have Agger, Carroll and Meireles all just recovering from injuries, and it is unclear whether they will be involved. Youngsters Martin Kelly and Jonjo Shelvey are both injured.

Man United are without the services of Vidic as he is suspended, while Ferdinand, Evra and Owen are all doubtful with injuries. Anderson, Hargreaves, Evans, Valencia, Park are all sidelined with injuries.

Match Fact -

Liverpool and Manchester United have met 155 teams, in which United have won 60 to Liverpool's 52. However, Liverpool have won their last two home matches against United. The Manchester club holds the best Premier League record of any club against Liverpool, with 20 wins.

Prediction -

It remains to be seen how Man United will react to the loss at Chelsea. With Liverpool playing at home, all the pressure will be on United to prove their title credentials. Add to that Arsenal dropping points on Saturday, and it is a high pressure game. With home advantage, Liverpool could win 2-1, throwing the title race wide open.

Click here to read the Live Coverage of the grudge-match between Liverpool and Manchester United!