Liverpool have an opportunity to derail Manchester United’s title challenge when the arch-rivals clash at Anfield on Sunday.
League leaders Manchester United lost 2-1 away to Chelsea on Tuesday and are only four points clear of second-placed Arsenal.
By the time United take to the pitch, the gap could be down to just one point if Arsenal can beat Sunderland on Saturday.
United will be without their captain Nemanja Vidic for the trip to Liverpool after the centre-back was sent off for two bookable offences in the defeat at Stamford Bridge.
With Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans also sidelined through injury, Wes Brown is expected to deputise alongside the emerging Chris Smalling.
The makeshift pair of Brown and Smalling could be set for a stern examination at Anfield, with 35-million pound man Andy Carroll in contention to make his Liverpool debut on Sunday.
The powerful striker has been sidelined with injury since his British-record transfer from Newcastle United in January, but could finally be set to link up with Luis Suarez in a new-look front line.
Liverpool have climbed to sixth in the table under the stewardship of Kenny Dalglish, but their revival faltered with a 3-1 loss away to relegation-threatened West Ham United last Sunday.
They were rarely in the contest at Upton Park and will need a significant improvement from the likes of stalwarts Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt if they are to overturn United.
Sir Alex Ferguson felt key decisions went against Manchester United in their reverse at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea took the lead through a contentious penalty and the hosts might have gone down to 10 men before United did – Brazil defender David Luiz was lucky not to receive a second yellow card for a blatant trip on Wayne Rooney.
United have a growing injury list to contend with – joining Ferdinand and Evans on the sidelines are midfielders Anderson, Antonio Valencia, Owen Hargreaves and Park Ji-Sung.
Injury is also expected to deny Michael Owen a chance of featuring against his former club.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are likely to be without defenders Martin Kelly and Daniel Agger, wide man Fabio Aurelio and promising midfielder Jonjo Shelvey.