welcome to a match that promises sub-plots than late-period Salman Rushdie: Fernando Torres v Nemanja 'bunny' Vidic, who has been sent off in three of the last four matches between these sides; the question of where Joe Cole will play - assuming he does play; whether Sir Alex Ferguson will allow Dimitar Berbatov to start a big game; the possible return of Rio Ferdinand for Jonny Evans - and, last but by no means least, the intriguing managerial machinations. Both Roy Hodgson and Ferguson have a tendency to play one up front in big games - but will they change tack today?
Stats that may or may not be relevant for today's match:
* Four of the last five Utd v Liverpool games have had at least three goals
* United's league record last season after Champ Lge matches: W3 D2 L5
* There have been six red cards in the last seven matches
* United have yet to concede a goal at Old Trafford this season
* Liverpool are yet to score a league goal away from home this season
Manchester United team (4-4-2) with no Rio Ferdinand and nine changes to the team that drew against Rangers Van Der Sar; O'Shea, Evans, Vidic, Evra; Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney. According to our Manchester correspondent Daniel Taylor there are unconfirmed reports that Ferdinand is ill.
The Liverpool team (4-2-3-1) with Joe Cole and six changes to the team that beat Steaua Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Konchesky; Poulsen, Meireles; Maxi, Gerrard, Cole; Torres.
Latest odds: Manchester United 8-11, Liverpool 5-1, draw 11-4.
An email ... "This is the season that United will surpass Liverpool's record," predicts Harris Anyangu. "There's the motivation. All they have to do is keep the tabs on Joe Cole." Surely Chelsea's form is more of a concern?
The strains of Glory, Glory Man United die down ... And to the Stone Roses' This Is The One the teams leave the tunnel. Not long to go now. Meanwhile Rob Hisnay emails: "Please tell me what's a better value for the dollar: City spending £7m for Adam Johnson, Spurs £8m for Van der Vaart ... or Fergie £7m for Bebe?" Mmm.