Johannesburg - Liverpool host Manchester United tomorrow night in one of the most eagerly awaited Premier League clashes between these two fierce rivals.
Jürgen Klopp’s side are currently two places and three points better off than José Mourinho’s men. They are in fourth place with 16 points, after seven games.
A win for the Red Devils would not only see them go level with the Merseysiders, but also keep them within touching distance of the top of the table, where Manchester City and Tottenham are threatening to open up a gap.
Added to that, United have not lost to Liverpool in the league since March 2014, and will not want to start now.
While Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Luke Shaw are both available, Phil Jones is sidelined for this tie.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are worried about the fitness of Adam Lallana (groin injury) and Georginio Wijnaldum (hamstring complaint).
Emre Can is, however, fit again after recovering from an ankle injury. But Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne face late fitness tests.
Ahead of what is expected to be an emotionally charged tie, an upbeat Klopp said: “You cannot and should not ignore the special circumstance of a game like this.
“You have to be ready. You need to be emotional but cool, direct but patient – just like in all the games, of course, but also the best games.”
He added: “The more public interest there is, the more difficult it is – but the more excited everybody is. It will never be a normal game.”
Asked about his side’s title chances, he said: “Apart from the table, it is a very important game. I know about the history, I like the special stories.
“The whole world will watch this game. It is a big honour to be part of it.
“At the end, it is up to us to perform to our best.”
Mourinho was slightly less forthcoming when he said he was happy to have so many players involved with international teams – without revealing what effect their recent excursions would have on their club performance.
He said: “I like my players to go to the international teams. I am always very proud that my players are selected.
“It is obviously important for them and it’s good for me, and I think the club also feels proud of it.”
He also insisted that his side’s season would not be determined by the result of this one game. “The season is not about the Anfield match and the Old Trafford match in January; the season is about many points to win, points to lose and targets to achieve.”
Nevertheless, the Manchester United boss was looking forward to playing at Anfield. “I cannot say I like to go there as I am always successful [there], as this is not true.”