Sir Alex Ferguson believes football goes in cycles as Liverpool head to Old Trafford having gone 22 years since their last league title.
The Merseysiders are attempting to rebuild under Brendan Rodgers and challenge towards the summit again but the manager thinks United are always capable of staying one step ahead of all opponents because of the awareness of where top players are beginning to emerge across the continent.
Belgium were handed special praise and have a number of English top-flight stars in their current national team. Meanwhile, the Reds currently have four promising youngsters from the European nation in the Reserves and Academy - Marnick Vermijl, Charni Ekangamene, Adnan Januzaj and Andreas Pereira.
"I think history repeats itself," explained Sir Alex. "The cycles repeat themselves too. For instance, France were producing these players for a long time – Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Zinedine Zidane – that’s gone. Now Belgium are getting a cycle of producing really good players at the moment.
"Spain are in a cycle at the moment, winning the European Championship, the World Cup and European Cups [with Barcelona] – those two teams [Barca and Real Madrid] are definitely dominant in terms of success. But cycles change and that’s where we probably, as a club, are more aware than anyone because we know it does happen. That’s why we try to be one step ahead of everyone."
Liverpool may be 21 points behind United come kick-off time at Old Trafford but that hasn't really entered Sir Alex's thinking. His immediate concern in the Barclays Premier League is the chasing pack behind his leaders.
"I never even thought about it until Sky Sports mentioned it the other day," he admitted, when asked about the gap with the eighth-placed Merseysiders. "I don’t really look at that. I look at the team that’s behind