Financial realities mean that Liverpool have much a greater need to qualify for the Champions League than Manchester United, according to Reds legend Jamie Carragher.
Ahead of tomorrow's showdown at Anfield, Carragher says that his former club have to finish in the top four this season if they wish to stay among the Premier League's top table whereas United can still afford to miss out.
"Manchester United have got more money than Liverpool," Carragher said. "They bring in more money. They spent £150m in the summer and even if they don't have a great season they can spend that again and it won't affect them in terms of Financial Fair Play.
"That's why it's vital for Liverpool to get into the Champions League again. Looking at the teams right now, you'd say Liverpool have the edge because of their age and how they're playing but whether United get in or out of the Champions League they're still going to spend massive money."
Liverpool's impressive run of form has led to predictable theorising about how Brendan Rodgers' charges would have fared if Luis Suarez had shunned the temptation of Barcelona. The 37-year-old does not believe that his beloved club would have avoided their autumn slump even with the Uruguayan striker.
"I still think Liverpool might have had problems because they came up against things which they hadn't before; European football, new players coming in, playing three times a week, how to rotate. They were brilliant last year but they did have that advantage which United have this season and haven't really capitalised on as much."
Steven Gerrard's imminent switch to LA Galaxy will remove another player from the dressing room who really understands the supporters' feelings about the clubs' rivalry. Still, Carragher - who would use his good pal as an impact sub tomorrow and retain Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen - reckons that the fanfare around the fixture will help it to remain special.
"Yes, there's more (intensity) when there's local players involved but the foreign players know too. Sometimes, the crowd whips them up. You watch Premier League games and it's full of foreign players but it's not played like a foreign game, it's played like a Premier League game.
"They get intoxicated by our game, the atmosphere, the roar when the players come out. Wherever you are in the world, you know that Liverpool-Manchester United is a rivalry."