Manchester United’s gallant bid to challenge for the Premier League title for the first time in eight years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement conquest will face a major test when the current table-topping leaders face champions Liverpool on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is certainly fully aware that points are certain to be dropped by one of the title contenders at Anfield this weekend, which would allow third-placed Manchester City to climb back into the race.
Having suddenly gate-crashed the title race and announcing their unexpected arrival with nine wins during an 11-match unbeaten run, the Red Devils head to Anfield relishing their rare opportunity to open up a potentially priceless six-point lead over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
United are now in the unfamiliar position of being top of the table at this stage of the campaign for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s title-winning farewell season in 2012-13, having a three-point cushion over second-placed Liverpool after Tuesday’s well-deserved, hard-fought success at Burnley. What a far cry from the massive 30-point gap the Reds had opened up over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side when they last met in January 2020.
The Red Devils, and Solskjaer no less, would certainly be more than just relieved after having been in turmoil, making their worst home league start to a season in 48 years when they suffered a shock Champions League group stage exit earlier in the season.
United have creditably won seven away league games this term, while Liverpool – ravaged by defensive injuries since Van Dijk’s forced exit and a sudden shortage of goals – have gone three league matches without a victory.
“They’re champions by right and we’re looking forward to it and it’s a great test of where we’re at against a good team,” Solskjaer said.
A first win against Liverpool since 2018 would be the perfect way to show their challenge is more than a flash in the pan.