Paul Merson has told SkySports the result of Manchester United v Liverpool this weekend comes down to whether David de Gea plays or not.
The goalkeeper has not played for the Red Devils this season, and came close to leaving for Real Madrid during the transfer window.
Now he could be back in the fold, with The Mirror reporting he is ready to sign a new £200,000 per week deal to stay at Old Trafford.
De Gea played for Spain during the international break, and could make a spectacular return in a must not lose game for United against their rivals.
Merson said: "If this game goes anything like it did last season, and David de Gea doesn't play for United, then Liverpool win this game without a doubt. There is no way Liverpool can have as many chances as they did back then and not win the game.
"That is why De Gea has to play. If not, you're chopping your nose off to spite your face and United will struggle to come anywhere this season. Let's be honest, United wouldn't have come fourth last year without him."
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De Gea was a shield last season as United shut Liverpool out at Old Trafford, winning 3-0.
Raheem Sterling, since sold, was particularly wasteful in that match, while playmaker Coutinho is missing for Liverpool due to suspension.
Merson predicted the game to end a 2-2 draw, perhaps symbolising his uncertainty whether De Gea will or will not play.