How different their weeks have been, how different their campaigns have been, and how different their transfer windows were. When Manchester United take on Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, two of the biggest clubs in the country meet, and one team is on the brink of something special, whilst the other has descended into chaos.
At the end of the 2017/18 season, Liverpool finished six points behind United, and now they find themselves 16 points ahead with three games to go before the Premier League reaches the half-way point.
José Mourinho claimed that finishing second in the league last year was one of his greatest achievements, but the Old Trafford faithful will remember the season for their abysmal displays against Sevilla, as they crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16, and their FA Cup final defeat.
Liverpool have improved massively, since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk last January, making it all the way to the Champions League final. Whilst Mohamed Salah’s injury left Liverpool fans thinking what if, Jürgen Klopp returned to the transfer market aggressively to sign Alisson for a world record fee; there was no way back for Loris Karius, after his two costly errors in the final.
(Last 5 Premier League games: WWWWW)
The Premier League pace-setters boast the only undefeated record in the Premier League, but are still to reach the heights of last year in attack. They lost all three of their Champions League games on the road, but have only lost once at home. That defeat came at the hands of Chelsea, following a magical display from Eden Hazard in the Carabao Cup.
When the pressure was on in midweek, Liverpool blew Napoli away with one of their best performances of the season, although they needed a big save from Alisson late on as a result of their wasteful finishing.
(Last 5 Premier League games: WDDDL)
Languishing in sixth place – eight points behind both Chelsea and Arsenal – United have a fight on their hands to get back into the Champions League next season. David de Gea has performed fewer miracles than in past seasons, and their defence has already conceded 26 goals after allowing just 28 all last season.
In midfield, Paul Pogba has been dropped in a new low for the World Cup winner, Nemanja Matić looks a shadow of his former self, and upfront the ‘undroppable’ Romelu Lukaku had to be taken out of the firing line due to a string of poor performances.
Mourinho’s men did produce their best performance of the season at Stamford Bridge, and also managed to beat Juventus on their home patch; showing they can produce on the big stage away from home.
Salah – 16 appearances, 10 goals and 5 assists / Martial – 12 appearances, 7 goals.
The Egyptian king is starting to regain his unbelievable form of last season, and joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with a hat-trick last week away to Bournemouth. He followed this up with a decisive match-winner midweek, leaving the impressive Kalidou Koulibaly in his wake.
With Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard struggling for goals, Anthony Martial has again showed he is the man for the big moments. A fitness concern ahead of the trip to Anfield, Mourinho will be hoping the Frenchman is fit. The former Monaco striker burst onto the scene 3 years ago with a match-winning goal against Liverpool on his Man United debut.