MATCH PREVIEW: LIVERPOOL v DERBY
Posted on: Thu 30 Aug 2007
Neither side will want to go into the September international break on the back of a disappointing result at Anfield.
Derby are still searching for their first win of the Premier League season while Liverpool will want to keep in with the leading pack.
The Merseysiders have won two and drawn one of their opening three games and sit handily placed in fourth.
They're three points behind leaders Chelsea - the only side to deny them victory - but with a game in hand due to European commitments.
The 2005 winners and 2007 runners-up are in the group stages of the Champions League again and looking strong after thumping French side Toulouse 4-0 in midweek.
Their group opponents will be revealed later today but the Premier League is their holy grail.
Liverpool haven't been crowned English champions since 1990 and are yet to taste title glory in the Premier League era.
It's too long a gap for the club that has won the league more than any other, and their followers will be looking at Saturday's game as one they should win if they're going to have serious aspirations.
Defender Steve Finnan told www.liverpoolfc.tv:
"It's been a good start for us and hopefully that will continue on Saturday
"We fully respect them because they are in the Premier League.
"Yes, we're at home, but sometimes these games can be tricky because they'll be focused and will probably get a lot of men behind the ball. We can't let that frustrate us.
"We've got good enough players to break teams down now, so if we play to our potential, hopefully we'll pick up the three points."
Manager Rafa Bentiez has the luxury of being able to rotate his squad at will and field a supposedly weakened side - which still includes players with plenty of international pedigree - when he chooses.
He mixed things around in midweek but Liverpool still hammered four past French side Toulouse in the Champions League qualifier.
And that's without record signing Fernando Torres, who is expected to return to the side to face Derby.
Inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard is still a doubt with the toe injury that forced him to miss England's recent friendly with Germany, as well as the game against Toulouse.
Jamie Carragher sits it out with a broken rib, but otherwise Benitez has plenty of options.
Derby haven't tasted victory on Merseyside since November 1998, when Kevin Harper and Paulo Wanchope scored the goals to secure a 2-1 victory.
Liverpool v Derby is a game that goes all the way back to the end of the 19th Century when the Reds took the spoils twice in the 1894/95 season.
If Stephen Pearson plays for Derby he will be making his 150th career league appearance.
Staffordshire's Alan Wiley is a vastly experienced official who has been on the Premier League circuit for many years.
Wiley has taken charge of four games this season with 15 yellow cards issued, and one red - to Blackburn's Ryan Nelsen.
His last Derby assignment came in March 2006 as two Inigo Idiakez goals saw off Crystal Palace in a dramatic 2-1 win at Pride Park.
Derby fans have snapped up their entire allocation of almost 3,000 seats in the away end.