Michael Carrick feels Premier League table-toppers Liverpool will have every reason to be afraid if Manchester United beat Chelsea on Sunday.
The Red Devils tackle Luiz Felipe Scolari's men at Old Trafford knowing victory would take them to within a point of the Blues and keep them in striking distance of Liverpool, who still have to visit the Theatre of Dreams themselves in March.
It is a position United would have taken at the start of the season given the arduous demands of an opening to the campaign Sir Alex Ferguson insists has been 'handicapped' to his side's disadvantage, especially as they currently have two games in hand.
''If I was in their shoes I would want to be as far ahead as I possibly could be,'' said Carrick. ''At this stage of the season we could have been a lot further behind than we are when you consider all the away games, especially after Champions League matches, and the fact our two games in hand are both at home.
''We are very positive at the moment. It is strange how the season has gone.
''Obviously we want the points on the board and it would be nice to be sitting on top of the league. But when you take everything into account it is not too bad.
''The games are there on paper, it is up to us to take advantage.''
Ferguson will check on the fitness of defender Rio Ferdinand, whose back injury has kept him out since the trip to Japan for the successful Club World Cup campaign three weeks ago.
However, the Scot will be able to welcome back Patrice Evra, who has now served the four-match ban controversially imposed for his part in a post-match fracas at Stamford Bridge last year.
Evra has an obvious desire for victory, although Carrick feels United should want to emphasise their superiority after deposing the back-to-back champions a couple of seasons ago and then beating them in last season's Champions League final.
''It was tough to break Chelsea's hold on the league,'' said the former Tottenham man.
''That first Premier League trophy probably surprised a few people because they expected Chelsea to go on and win it again.
''But we started the season unbelievably well and really put the pressure on from the start.
''It was important to get ahead because Chelsea were very rarely slipping up. But our flying start meant they were chasing, which they had not done for a few years. That gave everyone here the belief we could win it again.''