Liverpool took maximum points from their first two games, with 1-0 victories over Stoke City and Aston Villa, and will move five points clear of United if they beat them at Anfield.
However, despite their impressive early form, Ferdinand believes the best the five-time European champions can hope for this season is a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League.
“It is too early to say whether they will challenge the top four,” Ferdinand told United’s in-house television channel, MUTV.
“I don’t think they would have been in anyone’s reckoning before the season began. But they have started the season very well and are looking to put themselves in a good position after those first three games. I still see it being between Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal going for that fourth spot,” said Ferdinand (34), who has sampled the fiery atmosphere of United’s games with Liverpool on 19 previous occasions and has twice scored late winning goals in the fixture at Old Trafford. He also sat in the stands for United's FA Cup loss at Anfield in February 2006.