Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is braced for another intense clash at Liverpool on Sunday - but is confident the player likely to face the most flak will sail through.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen was jeered by a minority on the Kop as a Newcastle player, but that is nothing compared to his likely reception as a United player.Owen, who quit Liverpool for Real Madrid in 2004, did the unthinkable for many a Reds fan when he joined United on a free transfer from Newcastle in the summer.

Ferguson said: "Manchester United and Liverpool games are always intense. It is THE game, as far as I am concerned. That won't change."

He added: "We are going in in decent form - there is a good confidence in our play. But it is a derby game, and anything can happen in derby games.

"It will be interesting to see the kind of reaction Michael gets.

"There are very few players who have played for both clubs.

"Paul Ince obviously got a bad reaction from our fans when he went to Liverpool, and Michael might get that on Sunday.

"The goals he scored for Liverpool mark him down as one of their best-ever strikers. That stands him in good stead in terms of the Liverpool fans."

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