Liverpool rivalry runs deep - Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand has joined Paul Scholes in stating Liverpool are the opponents that fire Manchester United up the most each season.
Although Manchester City's emergence as a major threat to United's own trophy hopes has given derby day added significance, spending so long scrapping for supremacy with Liverpool means that rivalry has proved impossible to break.
"I would say it is the fixture we look forward to first," Ferdinand said. "The rivalry runs deep. Liverpool have not been up their fighting for the championship but the fans and the players are well versed in what this means to us as a club."
Although United and Liverpool have rarely finished first and second in the league, they are by far England's most successful clubs, with 37 titles and eight European Cups between them.
The number of great players that have represented either team is the stuff of legend, as is the enmity that comes from two proud cities who formed such a central part of England's Industrial Revolution.
"It is special," Ferdinand added. "You look back over the years and see what has gone on before I came to the club and whilst I have been here there have been loads of great moments.
"You just want to add your name and be a part of a team that joins that long list of events that have gone on. I always enjoy playing against Liverpool, either at Anfield or Old Trafford. Hopefully this is another good, exciting and winning occasion for us."
For once though, Ferdinand cannot be sure of his place.
The 34-year-old has made it clear he is fit and available, but the same can also be said of his long-time partner Nemanja Vidic, in addition to Jonny Evans - who has made more appearances than any other central defender this season - and Chris Smalling.
"When you are at a place like this you always need competition for places," Ferdinand said. "If there was no competition for places we wouldn't be as successful as we are. We have to make it difficult for the manager to pick a first XI and then we go from there. You just hope you are in the team that plays."