Richard Buxton: Man United can show they are the real deal at Anfield
Solskjaer's men can also forge ahead with favourable fixtures after Liverpool clash
Timing remains everything in football and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's is impeccable.
As the English Premier League title battle begins to heat up, the Manchester United manager finds himself in one of the best possible places at an opportune moment.
For a first time since Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, Old Trafford again basks in holding top spot at the 17-game stage, thanks to their 1-0 win against Burnley yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Doubtless, the grand master would have approved of Solskjaer fashioning a victory that dislodged Liverpool at the summit in a fashion not too dissimilar from his own heyday.
Ferguson's all-conquering United sides made a habit of grinding out results.
If his protege can avoid defeat in the top-of-the-table clash at Anfield on Monday morning, it could prove invaluable.
Losing to Juergen Klopp's champions-elect last January was a clear sign that the Red Devils were on the slide as they slipped 30 points adrift of the team that their most successful manager had once made it his personal mission to knock "off their perch".
Remarkably, that 2-0 defeat became an unlikely cure for the visitors' travel sickness.
Since then, United have gone unbeaten on the road in their previous 15 EPL outings.
Solskjaer has spent the bulk of his tenure at the Theatre of Dreams drinking in the Last Chance Saloon. Every setback magnifies his deficiencies to coach at the highest level.
Last week's League Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City further exposed the ongoing flaws in his managerial make-up when it comes to cup competitions, as did the humiliating manner of United's departure from the Champions League group stages.
But the Norwegian has put together an unbeaten stretch in his past 11 EPL matches, and could well and truly silence the naysayers if he extends the run against Liverpool.
After suffering a home loss to Arsenal in early November, United have taken 29 points out of a possible 33 with only Leicester City and Pep Guardiola's side denying them.
At Turf Moor, Solskjaer demonstrated qualities which promises to serve his side well on Merseyside with Nemanja Matic chosen to weather the midfield contest ahead of Fred.
The Brazil international will be unleashed against a Liverpool team fighting to defend their crown while down on their luck domestically, after a winless run of three top-flight games.
With Fred fresh, the 20-time EPL champions look primed to frustrate their hosts.
More than most, Solskjaer knows that United are approaching a critical juncture in the campaign with a wide-open title race that leaves increasingly little margin for error.
Besides the Reds, he must contend with as many as four other clubs prepared to pounce, with City still appearing best placed to take advantage of the slightest slip-up.
Should City defeat Brighton this morning and win their other game in hand, they will move to within a point of United.
Leicester and Everton, while very much outsiders, also remain in reach of the pinnacle with just one win fewer than the current leaders.
If United are still clinging to the top spot by season's end on May 23, they are set to go down as one of the most uninspiring EPL champions in recent memory, with a projected tally of 80 points mirroring Ferguson's class of 2010/11 that were dubbed the "Unconvincibles".
A favourable run of fixtures after this weekend, facing just two top-half opponents in their next seven games, affords United a perfect opportunity to build momentum as well as staving off credible threats posed by several members of the chasing pack.
Emerging from Anfield still in first place will confirm Solskjaer's men as true title-contenders.