Liverpool vs Manchester United preview: Red Devils face first real test against stuttering Liverpool

Manchester United will arguably face their toughest test of the 2017/18 season thus far on Saturday lunchtime, as José Mourinho's men travel the short distance to taken on bitter rivals Liverpool who will be looking to revitalise their form after a below-average start to the campaign.

Looking to regain some footing

This week has marked the two-year anniversary of Jürgen Klopp joining Liverpool after his stint at Borussia Dortmund; some critics argue that not much has changed since the arrival of the German but The Reds will have to pull out something special to reignite their season to turn those thoughts around.

The beginning of the campaign was a bag of mixed emotions with the draw at Watford before things began to pick up with their form peaking with the 4-0 demolition of Arsenal. Since then Liverpool have picked up just four points and been knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Leicester City.

Klopp will have hoped to head into the international break with another win as they travelled to the North East to take on Newcastle United and former manager Rafael Benítez.

Things started well with Philippe Coutinho's excellent strike but Joselu's bizarre effort continued their miserable run.

Getting over that first hurdle

Down the M62 things have been going more swimmingly, and Mourinho will be eager for his side to continue their unbeaten start against their bitter rivals.

United currently sit joint-top of the Premier League table with goal difference alone separating themselves and Manchester City, managing to put away 21 goals and keep six clean sheets in those opening seven league fixtures.

Their ruthlessness didn't stop ahead of the international fixtures as goals from Juan Mata, Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku gave them a 4-0 win over bottom side Crystal Palace.

Many will say United have yet to be tested and the only time they have dropped points thus far came after the last international break with the 2-2 draw against Stoke City, but Mourinho will be confident that they can bring three points away from Anfield.

Team news

The international break can prove a cruel mistress for teams and it certainly has struck both sides ahead of this crucial clash, with the Reds facing Mourinho's men without their top scorer.

Sadio Mané had a storming start to the campaign for Klopp's side with three goals in four league matches before his three-match suspension after the 5-0 demolition by Manchester City.

Mané went away with Senegal but a hamstring injury could rule him out for up to six weeks. It is also expected that Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne will be left out of the side.

It was a bittersweet break for Mourinho as seems unlikely that Fellaini will make the trip down the M62 after sustaining knee ligament damage, and will join both Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba on the treatment table.

One major boost will be the return of striker Lukaku, there was some concern surrounding a ankle injury but Belgium manager Roberto Martínez confirmed he was at "100 per cent" after playing him in the win over Cyprus.

Liverpool will host Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday, October 14 with kick-off at 12:30pm.