LONDON (AFP) - Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand says Liverpool will not challenge for the Premier League title this season, ahead of their derby showdown on Sunday.
Liverpool took maximum points from their first two games, with 1-0 victories over Stoke City and Aston Villa, and will move five points clear of United if they beat them at Anfield.
However, despite their impressive early form, Ferdinand believes the best the five-time European champions can hope for this season is a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League.
"It is too early to say whether they will challenge the top four," Ferdinand, 34, told United's in-house television channel, MUTV.
"I don't think they would have been in anyone's reckoning before the season began. But they have started the season very well and are looking to put themselves in a good position after those first three games.
"I still see it being between Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal going for that fourth spot."