If there is one man who knows what it takes to win Premier League titles, it is Sir Alex Ferguson.
The legendary manager lifted the trophy 13 times in a hugely successful 27-year spell at Manchester United, whose dominance under Ferguson came at the expense of bitter rivals Liverpool, who failed to replicate their mid-1970s and 80s domestic success.
Ferguson was a serial winner at Man United, with the club ‘knocking Liverpool off their perch’GETTY
However, the Reds reclaimed top spot in English football for the first time in 30 years when they romped to the Premier League title last season.
That success would not have been possible without manager Jurgen Klopp, who has transformed Liverpool into one of the world’s most feared teams since his arrival in 2015.
Even though they lost in League Cup, Europa League and Champions League finals, Anfield bosses stuck with Klopp.
And their patience paid off when he guided the Reds to a sixth Champions League triumph thanks to a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the 2018/19 season, just one year after losing in the final to Real Madrid.
Klopp came along and helped Liverpool lift a first ever Premier League title, while their rivals have not tasted league success since 2013getty
In the same campaign, Liverpool missed out on the Premier League title by one point as Man City finished on 98 points.
But that did not deter Klopp as his Liverpool side went on to set a new record for the earliest title success with seven matches to spare.
It took a while to get there, but even in the early stages of Liverpool’s struggles under Klopp, Ferguson still backed him to lead the club to glory.
Reds legend Jamie Carragher told the Daily Telegraph: “Outside Anfield, there was only one high-profile figure in the game who tried to convince me Klopp could bring the title to Anfield.
“I should have listened to Sir Alex Ferguson. I will never forget meeting Sir Alex when I played in Michael Carrick’s testimonial in June, 2017. ‘You’ve got yourself a manager, there,’ Fergie told me.
“It was the look he gave me which was most revealing, as he explained how impressed he had been with Klopp during Champions League coaching seminars.
Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League record
The manager arrived in 2015 and has transformed the club
Goals for: 428
Goals against: 196
“Klopp attended while Borussia Dortmund coach to hear from the most esteemed football minds.
“He felt, and exhibited, no inferiority complex, and Ferguson intuitively knew he was perfect for Liverpool.”
And now their place at the top is being threatened once again by their long time adversaries.
Ahead of their league clash on Saturday, United leapfrogged them into first place and have not led after 17 games since 2012 in what was Fergie’s final year in charge.
Last month, former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino compared the current Liverpool team to Ferguson’s United side, insisting ‘they don’t give you a chance’.
But United appear to be back and a Paul Pogba goal beat Burnley to send the club above Liverpool in the Premier League table
He told talkSPORT: “When I played against Manchester United – I’m talking about the late 80s and early 90s – one thing you always knew when you played them was how brave their style was.
“They were coming from everywhere, they were adventurous, they battled, they made it hard for you and that’s what Liverpool do.
“They don’t have any respect for where they’re playing you, they’ll come to your own back yard and they’ll play you off the field, outrun you, outfight you.
“I can remember Man United being that week in, week out.
“You knew they’d give you nothing. I played twice at Old Trafford and got beaten 4-0 and 5-1 and hardly got a kick in the game and that’s exactly what it’s going to be like for some of those teams playing Liverpool.
“They don’t give you a chance.”
Current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has attempted to play down the importance of being top in the middle of January, but beat their rivals at Anfield on Sunday and United will be six points ahead of Liverpool, who moved an eye-watering 30 points clear of Solskjaer’s side with a 2-0 victory when they last met in January 2020.
The manager is looking forward to the game.
“Of course you enjoy being where we are at any time. If it’s the first game or the last game, it’s a big, big difference.
“But at the moment we are where we are. We’re going to go in there knowing that we play against the team that’s been by a mile the best in the country for the last year and a half.
“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.”