Ferdinand: Rivalry runs deep
Rio Ferdinand claims it is dates with Liverpool which capture the imagination of those within the Manchester United camp.
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The emergence of Manchester City as a serious challenger for Premier League dominance has added a new dimension to rivalries in the North West, but there has not always been so much riding on meetings between the red and blue halves of the city.
In contrast, United and Liverpool have been slugging it out for decades, adding extra spice to encounters between two old adversaries at Old Trafford and Anfield.
The latest instalment in their long running battle is due to be staged this weekend, and Ferdinand has echoed team-mates Paul Scholes in pointing out that Sunday's fixture is considered to hold added importance for those on either side of the divide.
He said: "I would say it is the fixture we look forward to first. The rivalry runs deep.
"Liverpool have not been up there fighting for the championship, but the fans and the players are well versed in what this means to us as a club.
"It is special. You look back over the years and see what has gone on before I came to the club and whilst I have been here, there have been loads of great moments.
"You just want to add your name and be a part of a team that joins that long list of events that have gone on.
"I always enjoy playing against Liverpool, either at Anfield or Old Trafford. Hopefully this is another good, exciting and winning occasion for us."
Ferdinand can expect to be involved on Sunday, with his vast experience crucial on such occasions, but he cannot afford to take a starting berth for granted with the likes of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling also pushing for limited places.
He added: "When you are at a place like this you always need competition for places. If there was no competition for places we wouldn't be as successful as we are.
"We have to make it difficult for the manager to pick a first XI and then we go from there. You just hope you are in the team that plays."