The story went - new manager, a lot of young (but decent) players, and little activity in the Summer transfer window would mean that free-spending Manchester City (and even Spurs), and the return of the 'happy one' at Chelsea would result in stiffer competition this season. The Manchester United 'fear factor', that the club had in abundance under former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, had gone, many said.
The 4-1 thrashing away at Swansea City on the opening day of the season, however, had some critics already looking to reassess their views on Manchester United. And although a point at Old Trafford against Chelsea was only satisfactory, the positives are surely the form of Robin van Persie, and the fact that Wayne Rooney clearly showed in the Chelsea game that he was out to prove a point, and has retained the support of the fans.
Playing Liverpool at Anfield is never an easy task (the honours are even during the last 3 Anfied head-to-heads, with Liverpool and Manchester United winning one each, and one match a draw), and Manchester United face a stern test today, against a team that has won its first two Premier League fixtures.
A win at Anfield in the early game today will not only delight the Manchester United faithful, but will once again prove that Manchester United is the team to beat this season, and that old fear factor (surely worth a few points over the course of a season) will be back.
A victory for Liverpool, however, and Arsenal and Spurs will most certainly feel the pressure as the slog for fourth place will look like a genuine 3 horse race this season.
Either way, it's likely to be a fascinating encounter - even for the neutral.
image: © Sanjiva