• Moyes expects heated reception from Liverpool fans
• Man United manager says Anfield record doesn't bother him
David Moyes has never won a game at Anfield but he has never turned up in charge of the champions of England either. He may be hoping for a change of fortune on Sunday afternoon, though he knows better than to hope that Manchester United's visit will be any less intense than all the Merseyside derbies he has witnessed.
"I understand the rivalry, and though I did once get a round of applause at Anfield, that was during a ceremony for Hillsborough," he says. "All the other times I've been I've had stick from the home fans, and it will be back to that when I go with United."
Moyes does not have an exceptional record against any of the leading clubs but does not mind his five draws and seven defeats at Liverpool being mentioned, as they certainly have been in the past few days, as long as people can put what was achieved at Everton into perspective. "I'd love to have a much better record at Anfield than I do, but I think most people appreciate I was up against some pretty good Liverpool sides over the years," he says. "There was a gulf in terms of budget and quality that we had to try our best to bridge. We did beat Liverpool at Goodison, there were some terrific draws at Anfield and we finished above them in the league on occasions, so I don't think the record is anything to be ashamed of, but you have to remember that Liverpool won the Champions League while I was at Everton, and they too are a proud club that doesn't like to lose at home. Especially not in a Merseyside derby. For Everton to beat Liverpool at all was a great thing, because it wasn't really a level playing field but we had to try and make it so. We were hanging on to their shirt tails a lot of the time, but though it was a long process we gradually got above them in the table."
Though Moyes initially complained about the difficulty over United's opening fixtures, at least he is playing Liverpool at a time when Luis Suárez is still suspended, even though the striker is likely to be back for the next meeting in the Capital One Cup. "I think Luis Suárez is an exceptional player, I really do," the manager who had to endure the Uruguayan's comedy dive at his feet last season says. "He'll be a miss for Liverpool, just as having a fully focused Wayne Rooney back is a big bonus for us. I only planned to play Wayne for 60 or 70 minutes against Chelsea, but he looked sharp and fit and we needed a goal, so he stayed on for the whole 90. He was blowing at the end but I thought he did a good job. He's still the same boy I knew at Everton, we were laughing about it the other day. He's matured a lot, and he's got a lot more to his game now, but he's still solid and reliable. I told him I would need him to be top notch if he played against Chelsea, and I thought he was."
Taking a team of champions to Anfield will be a novel experience for Moyes, who is still getting used to the fact that in his new job there are hardly any run of the mill matches. "What I've realised since I came to Man United is that almost every game we play is a big occasion," he explains.
"We've just had a big game against Chelsea. Now it's Liverpool away. Then in a couple of weeks we have Manchester City. It feels like I've had a lot of big games and big occasions in a short space of time, a lot of big events happening very quickly. So much so that I've stuck to basically the same group of players. We still have Shinji Kagawa, Wilfried Zaha and Javier Hernández to have a good look at yet. They will all be used. Kagawa needed a week off when he came back from Japan, and Hernández could be fit this weekend. He's not feeling his hamstring anymore but he still lacks games and match sharpness."