Hopefulls spar with title favourites.

Both Liverpool and Leicester take on their league leaders this week, the Reds hoping to derail their fierce rivals title challenge and the Foxes hunting for three points to sustain their promotion charge.

25 years ago Alex Ferguson made the aim of his tenure at Old Trafford quite clear, “To knock Liverpool off their perch.” While many claim he has done that, Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher says it was the Red’s former manager Graeme Souness who did so, as the Scot failed miserably in the Anfield hot seat.

Regardless of blame Liverpool have not been dominant in the 20 years since they last won the title, where as United have been crowned Champions eleven times. Although there has been some European success between the clubs in that time nothing counts as much as being champions of England, and this is how the two sets of rival fans see the enduring contest.

United’s defence will be missing key players, Vidic serving a one game ban with Evra and Ferdinand both doubtful. Does this mean a debut for 35 million pound man Andy Carroll? Dalglish has maintained he’ll play when he’s ready but could a late appearance to ruffle some United defensive feathers be too good an opportunity to miss?

Despite leading the table United do not appear as impressive as in previous title winning seasons. The Stretford End do not care a jot, they’ll tell you that their team is top of the table. End of.

The showdown has an interesting build up with Dalglish is taking it at his usual nonchalant pace as Ferguson bitterly complains that forces are against his team. But these two wily Scots know only so much of this will count before the toss of the coin on Sunday. Ferguson has been clearly upset in recent weeks and it maybe too obvious to say it is the reigniting of his rivalry with Dalglish after 20 years. But something is in his craw.

Leicester and QPR have no such rivalry but do share a common aim, promotion. In 1983 both sides went up to the then First Division but the following year Leicester avoided relegation by one point in a tight scrap as QPR finished fifth, only seven points off Champions Liverpool, who completed a hat-trick of titles.

Eriksson is respectful of Neil Warnock achievements at Loftus Road and will congratulate him before kick off. He told lcfc.com: “I know Neil Warnock, not very well but I have met him several times. He’s doing a very good job so congratulations to him. I hope I don’t need to say that to him after 90 minutes, but I will say it to him before the game because he is doing a great job.”

Should the Swede be victorious today it will only be the second time this season QPR have been defeated at home, as Watford left with three points in December. This shows what a team the Hoops have become considering they were relegation candidates last season.

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