After the failed move to Real Madrid, goalkeeper David De Gea is finally set to make his first appearance of the season for Manchester United on Saturday against old rival Liverpool.
Held back by United manager Louis van Gaal due to the turmoil surrounding his future, Friday’s announcement that De Gea had signed a four-year contract should clear the 24-year-old Spain international to finally play.
The deal, which ties him to the club until 2019, should also help United move on from some unwanted speculation about Van Gaal’s training regime.
The club has not commented on a report that its players have complained about the Dutchman’s approach as they prepare for one of the biggest games of the season.
Between them, United and Liverpool have dominated English football for decades and their encounters have produced plenty of passion, controversy and red cards.
From the eight-match ban handed out in 2011 to Luis Suarez for his racial abuse of United defender Patrice Evra to the red card shown to Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard only 38 seconds after coming on as a substitute last March, it’s a game that easily gets out of hand.
However passionate it may be, though, it’s now a match with more history than significance for the title.
At the other end of the field, United striker Wayne Rooney will be playing his first game since becoming England’s all-time leading scorer, having reached the 50-goal mark in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in a European Championship qualifier.
Like United, Liverpool has had a mixed start to the season -- losing 3-0 at home to West Ham in its last outing -- and could do with striker Daniel Sturridge’s long-awaited return from injury.
That’s unlikely to happen on Saturday, despite reports that he is back in training after a hip operation in May.