Liverpool sit in the relegation zone coming into their Northwest Derby clash with Manchester United, winless in their first four games. They've played better looking football under Brendan Rodgers than they ever did under Kenny Dalglish and there is plenty of reason to believe that positive results will come eventually, but at the same time, they look flawed in almost every area of the pitch.
Meanwhile, Manchester United have three wins from their first four, including their last three in a row. With a victory on Saturday, they'll move to second place in the table. Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie look like excellent signings, and they even got a surprise debut goal out of a value signing last week, backup right back Alexander Büttner. At the moment, everything seems to be going Manchester United's way.
However, things have not gone their way at Anfield recently, even while Liverpool have struggled to claw their way back into the top four. The old cliche that form is irrelevant in derbies of this magnitude seems to regularly apply to Manchester United and Liverpool.
There's no doubt that United is the better team, in the better form, but these games rarely make sense. The Reds don't have much in the way of finishing, they don't have a defensive midfielder, and their defense has been poor to start the season. There's not much in the way of hard evidence to suggest that they're good enough to beat United, but then again, there wasn't much evidence that Everton was capable of pulling off just that during the first week of the season.
Liverpool are still without the services of Lucas Leiva and Joe Cole for this match. Otherwise, they have a clean bill of health. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney remain out for Manchester United. Ashley Young recently picked up a knee injury, and he will be out as well.
Match Date/Time: Sunday, 1:30 p.m. local, 8:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool, England
TV: FOX Soccer (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada)
For more on the Red Devils, check out Manchester United blog The Busby Babe. For more on the Reds, head over to Liverpool FC blogs The Liverpool Offside and Anfield Asylum. We'll have live coverage of the game in our Liverpool vs. Manchester United StoryStream. For more on the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.