Mohamed Salah believes faltering Liverpool "need to win" against Manchester United because of the high stakes involved in Sunday's showdown.
Premier League top-scorer Salah expects the always hotly contested north-west battle to have an extra edge because both are chasing the title this season.
The Egyptian striker, who has 13 league goals this season, has scored only once in his five previous Premier League encounters with United.
He has also failed to hit the net in Liverpool's last three league games this term, during which time they have mustered just one goal and two points.
As a result of Liverpool's slump, United have bolted three points ahead of Jurgen Klopp's Reds at the top of the table, with nine wins from their last 11 league games sending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men soaring.
"The game is really big at the moment, especially because now they are first and we are second," Salah told Norwegian broadcaster TV 2.
"They are playing well this season as well. It's a good game but at the end of the day we need to win that game, I think that's the most important thing.
"I always say it's just one game, it's only one game. But because this one, if they win they are going to be six points [ahead of Liverpool] and if we win we're going to be the same, it's a little bit special this game."
The prospect of sliding six points behind their rivals from along the East Lancs Road is one that is hard to stomach for Liverpool.
When they beat United 2-0 last January, it took Liverpool 30 points clear of their great rivals, the title already in sight.
The narrative is distinctly different this season, and what is clear is that Liverpool's finishing must sharpen up.
In the 1-0 defeat at Southampton on January 4 - their last league outing - Liverpool had 56 touches in the opposition box, more than they have managed in any other Premier League game this season.
However, they had just one shot on target and 11 that missed.
In the same game, they had 79 ball recoveries, matching their season-high total which came against Leeds United on the opening weekend of their campaign. Liverpool put 61 passes or crosses into the Saints box - more than they have against any other side this term.
There is plenty that Liverpool are still doing right, but they are not finishing off sequences as they did during last season's championship-winning effort.
Salah knows many will be looking to him to put right the wrongs of recent games.
"When I'm scoring goals and can help the team, that makes me happier," he said. "When I don't score and the team doesn't win, that's a nightmare!"