LONDON (AFP) - Sir Alex Ferguson insists Liverpool will struggle to pose a significant threat to Manchester United's bid for a record fourth consecutive Premier League title.
Ferguson spent much of last season engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words with Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and the United chief has wasted no time taking aim at his old rival again.
With the new league season still 10 days away, Ferguson has written off Liverpool's hopes of ending their 19-year wait to win the title.
Although Liverpool defeated United twice last season, including a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford, and finished just four points behind the champions, Ferguson believes Chelsea will be his team's main concern.
"It will be hard for them to match last season, let alone improve on it. Other teams will know more about them," Ferguson told The Sun.
"Liverpool had probably their best season for 20 years and still finished four points adrift.
"It has to be Chelsea as the main threat. Ancelotti will change how they play."
The close-season departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez have led some experts to predict a less successful season for United.
But Ferguson, who has signed Michael Owen and Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia, is adamant his squad is strong enough to retain the title and challege in Europe again.
"People have misread our situation and they have under-estimated our ability to improve players. That is an area where we have proved successful in the past," Ferguson said.
"We are expecting a lot from (Jonny) Evans, (Danny) Welbeck, (Darron) Gibson, (Federico) Macheda and the Da Silva brothers.
"And Nani and Anderson have already shown good things, but they will improve this season.
"We will miss Ronaldo's goal, that's obvious. But (Dimitar) Berbatov will do well this year. And (Wayne) Rooney and (Michael) Owen are both capable of getting 20 goals, so we've got plenty of options."