Ex-Manchester United player Lee Sharpe has admitted his jealously at the way the club’s rivals are playing in contrast to Jose Mourinho’s side.
The Reds finished second in the Premier League last season, 19 points behind local rivals Manchester City. Although Man United finished higher than Liverpool, all non-delusional football fans would accept that Liverpool play a style of football that is nicer on the eye and more exciting.
Jurgen Klopp has not won as many trophies at Liverpool as Jose Mourinho has at Old Trafford despite being at the club for longer, but his Liverpool side look ready to mount a genuine challenge to City. United don’t.
Sharpe conceded that it’s currently painful to watch United because of both a lack of success and lack of excitement within performances.
“It pains me to see what is happening at United,” Sharpe said.
“Last season was tough to watch at times with the team not really playing fluid or entertaining, attacking football like we’re used to seeing.
“I know he has his methods, Jose, but it makes it doubly as bad with City and Liverpool playing such attacking, entertaining football and getting great results. It makes it even worse to watch.”
Mourinho plays the odds and has done his whole career. That has been the case with FC Porto, Chelsea twice, Internazionale and Real Madrid. Now it’s the case with United.
When the Portuguese boss feels he has a good enough defence, he lets his attackers play with freedom. Some of his sides have been vastly entertaining and high-scoring, but also ruthless, clinical and winners.
United’s defence is not good enough to allow that. Some managers would back everything on United’s attackers scoring enough goals when playing in a proper system to make up for defensive issues. Klopp would be one of those. However, watching Liverpool until this season, it was clear that tactic could not work on the elite level because the defence was exposed.
Now, their defence is far improved, and Liverpool now look set to challenge. United aren’t ready defensively but their attackers, too, are being held back by the weak defence.
“I wish they played more like those two teams, absolutely,” Sharpe continued.
“When you watch City and Liverpool, and United of old, the first pass was forward and everybody played one and two touches. We played quickly and it was hard to mark and defend against. To watch us now can be painful.”
He’s right. It’s not enjoyable watching United every week. There’s the odd moment, the spark of magic from one of United’s many talented players. But week in, week out over a 50-game season, it’s easy to get bored.