This Sunday’s ‘M62 derby’ promises to be a belter and possibly the most significant clash between the north-west powerhouses for quite some time. With both Manchester United and Liverpool enjoying imperious form far more than league placings are at stake with momentum all-important as each side looked to mount a serious title challenge.

United legend Gary Pallister, speaking exclusively to 888sport, believes it will also prove to be the ultimate litmus test for the rejuvenated home side and their manager who appears to have finally found a winning formula at Old Trafford.

“The last time at Anfield Mourinho set United up not to get beat. At that point he wasn’t sure about his team and what their strengths and weaknesses were and they were in bad form so he went out to frustrate Liverpool. It wasn’t great to watch but he executed the perfect plan. It was the right thing to do at the time and I don’t think many can disagree with that.”

“But the team has moved on from there and Mourinho now has a much better idea about the players he has at hand. We’ve seen in recent games that United are more expansive and confident and they have goals in them.”

“This game against Liverpool is massive because it will reveal where Manchester United are right now. It will be interesting to see if we do put pressure on them and let our attacking flair dominate. It will be an intriguing game and it will tell both clubs where they might finish at the end of the season.”

Read the full 888sport interview with Gary Pallister, including his thoughts on how Rooney can prolong his career.