Dubai: Former Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby believes The Reds will comfortably beat Manchester United 3-0 at Anfield on Monday.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are currently fourth in the Premier League three points clear of sixth-placed United.
The Merseyside club have won five of their seven games so far this season with defeat to Burnley and a draw to Tottenham the only blemishes in an otherwise impressive start boasting wins over Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea.
United on the other hand have lost two and drawn one in their first seven games, losing to Manchester City and Watford, before drawing to Stoke. Victory over holders Leicester is their only notable result in four wins.
“I think Jose Mourinho is thinking ‘how are we going to cope with Liverpool?” said Molby, 53, at ‘An Audience With’ Peter Reid and Jan Molby at McGettigan’s in Jumeirah Lake Towers on Saturday.
“The front four condense to a diamond and the width comes from the fullbacks, he’s thinking ‘I’ve got Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney who are too slow’, they could run 400-metres as quick as anyone but from here to this wall they are not quick enough to stop Liverpool, that’s his first problem.
“His second problem is both centre halves Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are front foot and aggressive, I think he’s thinking maybe he needs a calmer centre half like Daley Blind. I think he’s really worried about how to cope with Liverpool and I think Liverpool will beat them comfortably 3-0.”
Molby, originally from Denmark, who scored 44 goals in 218 games for Liverpool between 1984 and 1996 also compared present day United to Liverpool of the mid-nineties, especially when it came to panic buying after a sudden loss of dominance.
“Liverpool’s success of the sixties, seventies and eighties, was as much based on their ability to bring Ian Rush from Chester for £300,000 (Dh1.3 million), Ronnie Whelan from Home Farm in Dublin for £45,000 and Jimmy Case from South Liverpool.
“When they got to the nineties it was no longer about that - that was never going to be enough. Football was changing because of the influx of money and foreigners. But we insisted on ‘what we know is what works’, and while the rest of the footballing world was working flat out to catch us and overtake us, we reacted late.
“That’s when you start doing what United are doing now and you panic and you start chasing. You suddenly can’t find anybody at Bury so you have to play along with everybody else,” added the winner of three league titles and three FA Cups.
“In the mid-nineties we [Liverpool] panicked and the only way to get out of it was by spending money so we spent £8.5 million on Stan Collymoore, £4.5 million on Phil Babb, we brought in John Scales, Neil Ruddock and Julian Dicks.
“Even the staunchest Liverpool fan would have gone ‘they’re not Liverpool players’. There was a thing about what a Liverpool player was and they weren’t it.
“I remember the chairman at the time telling me we were going to win the league that season because we had spent £21.5 million, but I said: ‘not with this group of players, we would have a chance of winning the title if we had spent £21.5 million on the right players but we haven’t’.
“We’ve spent 26 years playing catch-up,” he added of Liverpool’s last league title win in 1990, where he played a vital role.
“When you are the best team in the land you’ve got to get 60 per cent of your signings right that means if you sign 10 players, six have to be bang on for you to carry on that form.
“But if you are playing catch-up you need nine out of 10 to be right and we haven’t been running on nine out of ten for 25 years, hence where we are now.”
Molby added that United’s recent buys had been just as questionable.
“United have really good players but they haven’t got a team, so it’s going to take a while.
“The one player they needed to bring in who would have brought it all together was Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund [who is now at Manchester City]. He would have transferred the play from the back into midfield. If they couldn’t get Gundogan they should have gone out and spent £75 million on Luka Modric at Real Madrid. That’s the type of player United needed.”
Back to Liverpool, he said: “I get bored to death with being asked about the 26 year thing. I’d love it if we won it again to get the monkey off our back.
“The only Liverpool team I’ve seen in that time which I thought could win the league was the 2008/09 squad. Pepe Reina in goal, Danny Agger and Jamie Carragher in defence, a midfield three of Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Steven Gerrard, with Fernando Torres scoring every time he touched the ball. It’s a crime they didn’t win the league.
“People go on about Brendan Rodgers’ side that finished second to Manchester City in 2013/14 but the 2008/09 season was a bigger crime [they also finished second to Manchester United].
“Apart from that I’ve not seen a Liverpool team that fills me with enough confidence to think they can win, but I like this current team and I like what I see at the moment.
“The first thing that Klopp has done is simple, they are pressing, energetic and make an effort. It takes away your criticism that they are not trying because they are, and if you can’t see it with your own eyes the stats will tell you.
“The keeper Loris Karius is only a few games in and the left back is an issue but we are not in a situation where we are able to deal with every little problem. You have to believe that what we have is better than what we haven’t got and you can’t be perfect in every position.
“I didn’t think that Klopp could move this group of players. Even when we signed Sadio Mane, you think ‘he’s good’ but as soon as he joins your club, unless he’s Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo you say ‘well he’s not that good is he?’ And that’s how I felt about Mane.
“But Liverpool finished eighth last year and there’s a reason for that because that’s how good we were.
“And the only way we are going to get from eighth to fifth or to third or second is by having the best players.
“You think well Mane isn’t going to get us from eighth to fifth is he? But he is, and if we improve the existing players like Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana that might take us to fourth and Joel Matip coming in might take us up to second. But the power is with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.”