Scholes: Reds rivalry fierce as ever
Paul Scholes feels Liverpool still rank among Manchester United's biggest rivals, even given the Merseyside outfit's recent struggles.
With the clubs being the two most successful in the history of English football, clashes between them have traditionally been major fixtures in the season calendar. Liverpool have not featured in the Barclays Premier League title race for the last few years, though, and ahead of Sunday's meeting at Old Trafford, the gap between them in eighth place and Sir Alex Ferguson's table-toppers is 21 points.
However, as far as veteran United midfielder Scholes is concerned, the rivalry between the north-west outfits remains fierce. Asked where Liverpool currently feature among the Red Devils' biggest rivalries, Scholes told Inside United: "I think it was the top one for quite some while."
He added: "Liverpool probably haven't done as well as they'd have liked over the last few years - and they'd probably admit that. But it's definitely still right up there, it'll always be right up there."
While it has been Manchester City - the reigning champions - and Chelsea battling United for the league title in recent campaigns, Scholes has no doubt Liverpool "historically are our biggest rivals".
He said: "Whether Manchester City have overtaken Liverpool now (as United's biggest rivals), I don't know...it'll probably take years for City to create what Liverpool have done. But Liverpool historically are our biggest rivals, they're always the biggest games and the best atmospheres. But I'm sure City will run them close."
Meanwhile, Scholes has spoken of how glad he is that he decided to come out of retirement, with a year having now passed since his comeback appearance against City.
"I just wanted to come back playing, and I'm glad I did," the 38-year-old said. "At the time there were a lot of injuries and I thought maybe I could help, so I tried to. The second half of last season I played quite often. Unfortunately we just fell short of winning the league; that was disappointing, but I'm glad I came back."
United's latest title bid has been fuelled by the goals of striker Robin van Persie, who has netted 20 times in all competitions since joining from Arsenal in August. The Dutchman, voted United's player of the month for December after scoring five goals in their six league games over the period, was keen to thank Red Devils fans for their support.
"It's always nice to be recognised by the fans," Van Persie told manutd.com. "I have settled into the club quite quickly and I am really enjoying playing in this team. I would like to thank the fans for all their support. It's not all about scoring goals, but obviously that does help. It's great that so many players have scored goals over the season so far."