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Lack of Man Utd identity makes Liverpool favourites

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Liverpool v Man Utd: Why the rivalry runs deep

Manchester United lack “identity” under new manager Jose Mourinho, making Liverpool favourites for Monday’s Premier League match, says Old Trafford legend Paul Scholes.

United, seventh in the table, go to Anfield three points behind Liverpool.

Scholes says there is still “confusion” over Mourinho’s best side, whereas Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has “stamped his way of playing football” on his team.

“If you were betting, you would be betting on Liverpool,” he said.

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Former Chelsea manager Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford in the summer and made four major signings.

Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly was brought in for about £30m, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived on a free transfer, Armenia midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan came in for an undisclosed fee and France midfielder Paul Pogba was re-signed for a world record fee of £89m.

In United’s seven Premier League games so far, 15 outfield players have started – and Scholes believes this has led to mixed results, including two defeats and a draw.

In contrast, Mourinho used 21 outfield players in the whole of his 2004-05 and 2005-06 title-winning campaigns with Chelsea. In 2014-15, when he won the league with the Blues for a third time, the figure was 19.

“He was not ruthless enough in the off season,” said Scholes, who made 718 appearances for United after making his debut in 1994.

“There is so much confusion about who should play.

“What I saw of Mourinho at Chelsea, he had 13 or 14 players who played every week. He never rested players even in the League Cup or whatever competition he was in.

“With United it is still a settling-in period – it is going to take a bit of time for them to knit together and see what they are about.

“Is there an identity to the team yet? I don’t think there is.”

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Klopp’s Liverpool ‘a real threat’

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The world will be watching Liverpool v Man Utd – Klopp

Liverpool have had longer to get used to their manager Klopp, who succeeded Brendan Rodgers in October 2015.

Fourth in the table, they are on a run of five straight wins in all competitions and have scored 18 goals in seven Premier League games this season, including victories at Arsenal and Chelsea.

And with their high-pressing style, Scholes – who won 11 top-flight titles with United – can see a pattern emerging he says is absent from his former club.

“You can see Jurgen Klopp has stamped his way of playing football on the team,” said the 41-year-old.

“There is a definite way about them. You know how they are going to play. They are going to be quick, they are going to try to take the ball off you and try to score goals by flooding the box.

“I was worried about them defensively – but they have already played some of the big teams and they are a real threat.

“The form they are in, they look as good as any team in the league.”

The impossible job? Probably. Use our shortlist and pick who you think would make the greatest combined post-war Liverpool-Manchester United XI.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37673302