LONDON: With four points dropped from their first two games, Liverpool’s margin for error in the expected title race with Manchester City already looks seriously exhausted as they prepare for their clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday.
Poor performances in draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace mean Jurgen KloppThe team are already in the bottom half of the table, and injuries and a three-game suspension for new signing Darwin Nunez add to the feeling of unease at Anfield.
Incredibly, Liverpool’s early-season problems seem insignificant compared to their rivals Manchester United.
For the first time since 1992, United are bottom of the table premier league after losing their first two games against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford.
Thirty years ago they clawed back to win the title, but currently even the most optimistic United fans won’t believe they can realistically challenge the top four, let alone challenge defending champions City.
For a few hours early Wednesday, United fans dared to dream that Tesla founder Elon Musk was planning to buy the club, only for the billionaire to later admit his Twitter post was just a joke.
British chemicals mogul Jim Ratcliffe’s apparent interest in buying from Manchester United offers some hope for United fans desperate to end Glazer family ownership.
But for now, the only thing on their mind will be to avoid what could be a humiliation from a Liverpool side desperate to kick off their own season.
United’s performance against Brentford last weekend, when they conceded four goals in the first 35 minutes, was one of the most humbling in the club’s illustrious history.
New manager Erik ten Hag looked crestfallen on the touchline and surely the Dutchman could not have imagined how much of a challenge he had to face to revive United’s fortunes.
Including the end of last season, United have now lost four consecutive Premier League games, scoring once and conceding 11 times.
Liverpool will be licking their lips after beating United 5-0 away and 4-0 at home last season.
Ten Hag’s problems are so numerous that his head will spin. Goalkeeper David de Gea was a liability against Brentford, as were most of the defenders in front of him, while Cristiano Ronaldo gives the impression of wanting to be somewhere else.
United clearly need several quality signings but have so far failed in the transfer market with the passing of time.
Although it seems unlikely, victory would put United above Liverpool in the table and former Liverpool striker John Aldridge is wary of gloating about the problems ahead.
“Everyone is laughing at the state of United at the moment with their team, the dramas behind the scenes and the state of their pitch,” Aldridge told the Liverpool Echo.
“This game will be like a cup final for them. They won’t have much to play for this season other than beating Liverpool and Man City due to being behind as a club.
“If they win against us, they will go over us. It’s a crazy situation given how poorly United are playing.”
Ahead of Monday’s clash, Manchester City and Arsenal will both be looking to maintain their perfect starts.
City are at Newcastle United on Sunday, allowing Arsenal to take the lead if they win at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur, one of six four-point sides, begin the weekend program on Saturday with a lunchtime kick-off against Wolverhampton Wanderers while chelsea are at Leeds United on Sunday.

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