Liverpool and Manchester United face off on Sunday as the Premier League’s top two teams for the first time since 1997 – with the rivalry between England’s most successful clubs rekindled by a fascinating title race.
United top the table after the New Year for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 thanks to an 11-match unbeaten run to take them past Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Liverpool have surrendered top spot after three league games without a win and could drop to fifth place on Sunday if results go against them.
The last time United and Liverpool locked horns in a title race was 12 years ago.
Back then United were hardened winners under Ferguson, who saw off Rafael Benitez’s challengers to win a third consecutive league title.
Now it is United who Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits are the “hunters” chasing the champions.
Ferguson, who arrived at Old Trafford in 1986 with United firmly in Liverpool’s shadow, once famously said his goal was to knock them “off their perch” and he went on to win 13 league titles.
But United have been displaced as top dogs even in their own city by Manchester City.
Hampered by a series of injuries, most notably to talismanic centre-back Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have already dropped more points in 17 games than they have in either of the past two seasons.
That has allowed United to overtake them despite a slow start to their own campaign.
Solskjaer’s men won just two of their opening six games, suffering a humiliating 6-1 reverse at the hands of Tottenham at Old Trafford.
But, on the road, United’s form has been remarkably consistent. Come Sunday, it will be almost a year to the day since they last lost an away game in domestic competition – on their last visit to Anfield.