The Radio Times logo

Liverpool will win the Premier League title playing like Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United

Liverpool are bulldozing their way to the Premier League title, and they're doing it Fergie's way

Published: Monday, 11th November 2019 at 12:11 pm

A team in red streaming forward with power, intensity, ruthlessness, a string of defence-muddling crosses and unsung heroes stepping up when needed, scattered throughout an XI dripping with quality.


We've seen this before.

Is this Liverpool during their display of force against Manchester City at the weekend? Or Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United?

Jurgen Klopp's men were terrific in their 3-1 victory over title rivals City, and are in a league of their own at the summit of England's top flight.

Liverpool are eight points clear of the eye-catching Leicester and Chelsea, nine points ahead of Pep Guardiola's City, and they're doing it in Fergie-like fashion.

Those of a red persuasion on Merseyside probably won't thank me for the comparison, nor would their Mancunian counterparts enjoy any team being placed on par with a Sir Alex side, but the similarities are plain to see.

Liverpool are ferocious on the break when their front three are in full-flow, and their versatility means each can slot into the middle or drift out wide if required.

The same fluidity and force brought by Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez helped Manchester United to the 2007/08 Premier League and Champions League double.

While the shift to 4-3-3 certainly paid dividends for Fergie in the latter stages of his reign, feeding the ball out wide and expecting consistently strong crosses into the box was always part of United's DNA.

There was an obvious shade of David Beckham in the wonder-ball from Jordan Henderson, a perfect ping, sniped onto the head of Sadio Mane.

Of course, Henderson doesn't often find himself approaching the byline at pace, but in Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool boast two flying wingers from deep.

The Reds have put in 300 crosses in 2019/20 so far, second only to Man City (321) – Alexander-Arnold is responsible for 135 of them, almost as many as the entire Norwich team (139) during this campaign.

And when the obvious candidates, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mane aren't switched on, there's still no escaping Liverpool's supporting cast.

One of Fergie's greatest strengths was squeezing every drop out of every player, turning tidy and solid unsung heroes into champions of England and beyond.


Park Ji-Sung may be the most obvious name that comes to mind. He lacked the reputation and all-out technical wizardry of Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and many more attacking outlets, but he was one of the most dependable players in the squad, capable of changing games without making a racket.

James Milner is a match-winner, the ultimate clutch penalty taker, a cool head capable of consistent 8/10 displays to help grind out mammoth wins.

Jordan Henderson is an all-out grafter who will blanket the pitch, if needed. He will advance, if needed. He will dig-in, if needed.

Gini Wijnaldum was part of a relegation squad with Newcastle under Steve McClaren when Liverpool moved to snap him up. Klopp reined him back from an attacking midfield role and transformed him into a key cog in the Reds machine.

Klopp's Fergie-like ability to turn dogged mentality and potential into tangible performances is another tool he's using to wondrous effect.

The title race is not yet over, this one still has plenty of miles left to run, though perhaps Liverpool's greatest strength for the remainder of the season bears the most striking resemblance to Fergie's warriors – their sheer relentlessness.

In the dying stages of matches, the tactics, gameplans, intricacies of our beautiful game can often fly out of the window, but Liverpool's fitness levels and crazed winning-mentality is hauling them over the line on a weekly basis.

Their Fergie-time winner against Aston Villa is a prime example of a never-say-die attitude that, when it comes to the crunch, will drag them to a first top division title in three decades.

They simply find a way, by any means necessary, to put three more points on the board. A wave of red, on and on and on they go.


We've seen this before. And it usually ends well.


Sponsored content