Wayne Rooney admits Manchester United's top priority when they face Liverpool on Sunday will be to stop Luis Suarez - a player he regards as one of the very best on the planet. United have enjoyed supremacy over their old foes over the last two decades, but the tables have turned this season, with United 11 points behind the Merseysiders, who are second in the Barclays Premier League.
A quick glance at the goals scored column shows why Brendan Rodgers has enjoyed a far more successful season than David Moyes. Liverpool have scored 73 goals this term compared to United's total of 46. Liverpool striker Suarez, who has developed a lethal partnership with Daniel Sturridge, has scored 24 goals this season, and Rooney has been impressed with the Uruguayan's form.
"Suarez, for me, is up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the best players in the world," the United striker told MUTV. "He has been that good and the two of them together have been in great form this season. We will have to do everything we can to stop them on Sunday.
"I think they are both fantastic players and obviously it is good to see Sturridge doing well because he has never really had a chance at his previous clubs. Brendan Rodgers has given him a chance and he has taken it with both hands. That is good for England as well."
Robin van Persie fired United to the title by scoring 26 goals last season, but he and Rooney have only managed 11 each this term. Injuries have curbed the playing time for both players, but now they are fit - and have also committed their respective futures to the club - Rooney hopes the goals will start coming again for the duo.
"We can do better and if we are not at the top of the league then that will get looked at and we understand that," Rooney said. "We can score more goals and we know we can. We are working hard to do that, we have to keep going and hopefully that will come."
Whether it was part of a move to relieve pressure on his players or not, Moyes was moved to suggest that United are underdogs for Sunday's fixture - one he regards as the biggest in the country. The Scot remains convinced that he is leading United back on the path to success in the long term, though.
"We are a work in progress," the United boss said. "We are looking to make changes in time. We will regroup and get ourselves back together and hopefully it won't be too long. My biggest goal is not affecting Liverpool's title challenge, my biggest goal is to get Manchester United winning the title. That's my goal and will be my goal every year I'm in the job."
Moyes thinks Rodgers has been aided by the fact that Liverpool have not been in Europe this season.
"Liverpool and Brendan might have benefited from being out of Europe," Moyes said. "They've grown in confidence and securing Suarez on a new contract has been a big boost for the club."