Few Liverpool fans may have expected their side to be in between Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, fighting for top spot in the Premier League after the opening eight games.
In contrast, even fewer Manchester United fans would have been expecting their side to be trailing Everton and Southampton on the same number of points as Hull City and Newcastle United.
It’s reasonable to expect United will pull themselves out of their current situation and up the table, which creates the natural question of which out of the two arch enemies has a better chance of winning the league this season.
Brendan Rodgers hit back at claims from Sir Alex Ferguson that Liverpool need around eight players to win the league, suggesting they haven’t made a bad start for a team in that shape.
Liverpool have managed to keep their important players in good shape and it’s important for Rodgers’ side that Luis Suarez has slotted straight back into the team after coming back from his ten game suspension.
Liverpool do have a slight over reliance on their front players to score their goals at the moment with Suarez and Sturridge bagging ten of the 13 goals the side has scored so far this season.
However, that’s their job as strikers and Rodgers and Liverpool won’t care one little bit if they both stay fit and if they both play consistently.
It’s also significant that Rodgers showed versatility and initiative when he tried to play defenders out of position, which resulted in that 1-0 home loss against Southampton.
Liverpool changed to playing with three defenders at the back and it worked for them and Rodgers will have to perform more tactical changes and tricks throughout the season before he can add reinforcements this January.
Belief is also very important for Liverpool and while no one at the club has been prepared to entertain title talk, Rodgers has clearly given his side the belief that they could achieve something special this season.
Where Manchester United have the edge is in terms of their experience.
Things aren’t going to get any worse for United. They have already lost to Liverpool and Manchester City away from home, with bad results at Old Trafford against West Brom and Southampton.
David Moyes seems to be still trying to work out his best side at Old Trafford but don’t make the mistake of thinking United won’t accumulate points and slowly start climbing the table.
The difference is when it comes down to pressure over the second half of the season, United have the experienced players who know what it’s like to be within touching distance of glory, able to get results under big pressure in March, April and May.
David Moyes is also just getting to know his players and vice versa. Several of the players in the current first team are there because of Sir Alex Ferguson so it’s difficult for them to transform quickly and perform for a person who didn’t bring them to the club.
We won’t know if Liverpool will crumble until spring next year but if United are in and around the top places, they are well suited to cope with the pressure that comes with that and they too have a chance to strengthen this January.
Liverpool have the edge right now but United will come back.
Who do you think has the better chance, Liverpool or United?
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