Rooney wary of Reds, eager City face Villa
Wayne Rooney admits he still finds Anfield the most daunting ground to visit ahead of Manchester United's match with bitter rivals Liverpool on Saturday.
The table-topping Red Devils make the short trip to Merseyside with last season's 3-1 defeat still fresh in the memory, and knowing a repeat result could see local rivals Manchester City replace them at the summit.
His sending-off for England last week aside, this season has been a stellar one for Rooney with back-to-back hat-tricks against Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers a highlight, and the striker is keen to rediscover that form against his hometown club.
"For me, Liverpool is always the toughest place to go to and win," Rooney told the Manchester Evening News. "They'll be pushing to get into the top four and with the signings they've got they're capable of doing that so we'll have to be aware of them and try to beat them this time.
"They've made some good signings and obviously with them not qualifying for the Champions League last season they'll be desperate to get back into that."
United have started the season in outstanding form, winning six out of seven, although their 2-0 victory against Norwich City prior to the international break was laboured, and a 3-3 draw at home with Basel in the UEFA Champions League gave rise to concerns about their defensive strength.
They have nevertheless done enough to keep their noses ahead of Roberto Mancini's City, who have an identical record but trail Sir Alex Ferguson's men on goal difference.
Unbeaten starts for City, Villa
Controversial striker Carlos Tevez is back at City ahead of their game against Aston Villa on Saturday, following his two-week suspension for allegedly refusing to play against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The Argentinian is unlikely to feature, though, with the club ready to take further action over what they see as "alleged breaches of contract" relating to his conduct at the Allianz Arena. Mancini's men are hoping to extend their unbeaten league run this weekend, and in the process end Villa's own unbeaten start to the campaign.
David Silva has been winning praise for his performances in the middle of the park for City and, after scoring twice for Spain against Scotland during the international break, is eager to continue in the same vein against against Alex McLeish's side.
"Personally I'm very happy with the two goals I've scored and because things are going well for me both at club level as well as the national team," Silva said. "I'm very happy about my game and I hope to carry on like this."
Rovers, QPR seek revival
Blackburn Rovers, meanwhile, travel to Queens Park Rangers looking to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat at the hands of City last time out, while QPR are themselves keen to banish painful memories of their 6-0 drubbing by Fulham in their last outing before the international break.
With Blackburn manager Steve Kean still under pressure after a poor run of results, QPR midfielder Alejandro Faurlin is hopeful of a positive outcome.
"It's going to be a tough, tough game, but hopefully one we can get a result from," Faurlin said. "They have to win as well, because they are in a difficult situation."
Elsewhere on Saturday, Norwich face Swansea in a battle of two promoted teams, Stoke City take on fellow UEFA Europa League hopefuls Fulham, Wigan Athletic are up against bottom side Bolton Wanderers in an all-Lancashire encounter at the DW Stadium, and third-placed Chelsea face Everton.
On Sunday, West Bromwich Albion are up against midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, Arsenal face Sunderland and high-flying Newcastle United take on Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park.