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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Arsene Wenger's hidden gem

Arsenal
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By ESPN Staff

Ferdinand: Liverpool win would be perfect tonic

Rio Ferdinand believes beating Liverpool would be the perfect way to make amends for the sloppy points Manchester United have dropped so far this season.

• Forum: Weekend predictions

United head into Sunday's Old Trafford clash of the north west titans having fallen four points adrift of Premier League title favourites Chelsea.

The frustration is compounded by the knowledge the draws at Fulham and Everton were so needless. At Craven Cottage, Nani missed a penalty that would have put United two goals ahead with less than five minutes remaining and then at Everton last weekend, the Red Devils contrived to concede twice in stoppage time to toss away a winning position.

For Ferdinand, who is expected to start his first Premier League game of the season, it is a fault that must be rectified quickly. And there is no-one better to get the feelgood factor back against than Liverpool.

"This kind of game is always good for galvanising spirit and belief,'' he said. "You would be beating one of your closest rivals, so to win this game would be great for team morale. Hopefully it will put us on the crest of a wave.''

Although their lapses have been significant, United's general play had been impressive until the midweek stalemate with Rangers, when they failed completely to break down the visitors' nine-man defence.

The loss of Antonio Valencia is a major blow, although, having made 10 changes to his line-up this week, Sir Alex Ferguson would not be guaranteed to select the stricken Ecuador wide man anyway. Dimitar Berbatov and Paul Scholes are two of those who can confidently expect a recall, plus Nani, whilst Wayne Rooney is expected to keep his place.

For Ferdinand and central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, shackling Fernando Torres has proved difficult in the past. But the pair will approach their task with confidence given the Spanish star's recent poor form and Ferdinand believes United have every reason to be optimistic.

"There is a frustration with results but not with performance,'' he said. "We have been in commanding positions, so not to come away with six points from those two games is disappointing. But overall, we are pleased with the way we are playing. We have been scoring goals freely, including five in two games away from home. The main point is that we have to finish them off.''

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