If the battle for supremacy in your fantasy leagues is anything like as tight as the Premier League title race, there is no room for error.

That might encourage some managers to play it safe and stick with what they know, but the very best know how rewarding a risk can be.

So, should you wish to gamble and shuffle the pack, why not be guided by Stats Perform's Opta-powered picks?

Four players for the coming matchweek are highlighted below for your consideration...

MARTIN DUBRAVKA (Norwich City v Newcastle United)

It is probably safe to assume that at least until the turn of the year, few fantasy managers were relying on a Newcastle goalkeeper. Not only did the Magpies give three different keepers a run between the posts, but they conceded a Premier League record 80 goals in the calendar year of 2021.

However, it is all change in 2022. In fact, only Alisson (nine) and Ederson (seven) have kept more clean sheets than Dubravka (five) this year, with the Newcastle man now on six for the season.

He has conceded 13 goals over this spell (12 excluding own goals), but five of those came in a single match at Tottenham – and it is tough to imagine struggling Norwich similarly picking apart a now resolute Newcastle defence.

ALEX TELLES (Arsenal v Manchester United)

There may be plenty of movement of United players out of XIs this week, with none of those involved in Tuesday's 4-0 defeat at Liverpool emerging with any credit. However, Telles played no part from the bench.

Given how hapless that new-look United back line looked, it is hard to see how Telles will not come into the side four days later – and he has earned his place both in Rangnick's team and your fantasy selections.

No United player can better the left-back's three assists in 2022, with only Bruno Fernandes (35) and Jadon Sancho (21) creating more than his 13 chances.

MASON MOUNT (Chelsea v West Ham)

Chelsea will also be looking to make amends in a big game after their own shocking midweek defeat, but Mount at least continued his fine form against Arsenal, adding an assist after scoring two and creating another in his previous league outing at Southampton.

The England midfielder now has 10 goals and nine assists in the top flight this term, meaning he could soon become the first Chelsea player to reach double-figures in both categories since Eden Hazard in 2018-19 (16 goals and 15 assists). He would also be the youngest Blues man to achieve the feat at 23, with Juan Mata 24 in 2012-13 (10 goals and 10 assists).

Whether Mount gets the assist to reach that mark this weekend or not, only Mohamed Salah (34), Son Heung-min (23) and Harry Kane (20) have more than his 19 goal involvements this season, so expect him to plunder fantasy points one way or another.

IVAN TONEY (Brentford v Tottenham)

Tottenham may head into the weekend in fourth, but few will confidently back against Brentford. Spurs have lost their past five away London derbies, while only Chelsea have won more points in clashes between capital clubs this season than the Bees (14).

And if Brentford are to add to landmark victories over Arsenal and Chelsea with another against Tottenham, Toney is highly likely to have a key role to play, having scored eight goals and created another two in 2022.

Only Son (nine) – an opponent on Saturday – has netted more in this calendar year, although Kane (15) beats both for goal involvements.

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

David de Gea is "very excited" to work under Erik ten Hag after the Dutchman was confirmed as Manchester United's new manager on Thursday. 

Ten Hag will arrive from Ajax at the end of the season and take over from interim boss Ralf Rangnick on a three-year contract with an option to extend for another year. 

The 52-year-old is on course to win a third Eredivisie title with Ajax this season and has been lauded for his possession-based style. 

He guided Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19 and won two KNVB Bekers, though he was unable to make it a third last Sunday when his side were beaten 2-1 by PSV in the final.

De Gea is pleased to finally have clarity over United's managerial future and hopes they can focus on getting their push for a place in the Premier League's top four back on track. 

"Very excited the club has made the decision so now we all know," De Gea told United's official website. 

"We know what he has done for Ajax, he has nearly been in a Champions League final, he won titles and he develops players, so I’m very excited. 

"I think he plays very good football. Now we have to be very focused on the last games but we are excited to know who is coming. But now let's focus on Arsenal and fight until the end to be in the top four. 

"It's good to know and for sure he is already watching the games and thinking about what he can do to improve the team, so that's very good for us. I'm looking forward to working under him. 

"Of course, now the focus on Arsenal, it's a final [for us], we have to take the three points, [otherwise] the top four is done. Let's be focused and win the game." 

Cheshire Police have carried out a search of Harry Maguire's house after the Manchester United captain received a bomb threat.

Police conducted a sweep of the England centre-back's property, where he lives with his fiancee and two children, on Thursday after he was reportedly threatened via email.

A spokesman for Maguire said: "In the last 24 hours, Harry has received a serious threat to his family home. He has reported this to the police who are now looking into the matter.

"The safety of his family and those around him is obviously Harry's number one priority.

"He will continue to prepare for this weekend's fixture [at Arsenal on Saturday] as normal and we will not be commenting in any further detail at this time."

Maguire was targeted in a week that saw the Red Devils suffer a 4-0 Premier League thrashing at the hands of fierce rivals Liverpool on Thursday.

The 29-year-old defender has endured a difficult season and was booed by England fans during a friendly win over Ivory Coast last month.

United on Thursday confirmed Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag will take over as their new manager at the end of the season.

 

 

Cristiano Ronaldo has thanked the Liverpool and Manchester United fans who came together to pay tribute to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner on Tuesday.

Ronaldo missed United's 4-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool at Anfield after the loss of his newborn son.

But supporters of both teams made clear United's number seven was in their thoughts with applause after seven minutes.

The Liverpool fans also broke into a chorus of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

And in his first Instagram post since confirming his son's death, Ronaldo shared a clip of that moment alongside a message.

"One world... One sport... One global family... Thanks, Anfield," he wrote.

"Me and my family will never forget this moment of respect and compassion."

Erik ten Hag has been charged with the task of trying to make Manchester United a force again, and he faces a significant rebuilding job.

The Dutchman will leave Ajax at the end of the season to take charge of the Red Devils after agreeing a deal until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

It is not just shaping a squad that has struggled to coalesce this season that will be on his to-do list.

Ten Hag's in-tray will be piled high as he sets about making a short-term impact, while implementing the "long-term vision" that impressed United's hierarchy. 

Stats Perform looks at the pressing issues for the 52-year-old to address.

Change the mentality

A 3-2 win over Norwich City last weekend aside, United have been in poor form and are in danger of ending the season with a whimper.

It was men against boys as the Red Devils were thumped 4-0 at Liverpool on Tuesday and there have been far too many inept displays this season from a side lacking fight and quality.

Interim boss Ralf Rangnick has been unable to get a tune out of an underperforming group of players since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last November, and a huge shake-up is needed.

Add some steel

United must build solid foundations in a new era under Ten Hag, as they have been far too fragile in another hugely disappointing season.

Ten Hag needs a strong spine in his team, and if he was watching the way Liverpool blew them away at Anfield, he will know United have anything but that at the moment.

United fans will demand winners who will put their body on the line in the heat of battle and there is a real shortage of them in the current squad.

Recruit wisely

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 21 goals after sensationally rejoining United from Juventus last September, but his signing was surely only ever going to be a short-term fix at best.

Solskjaer certainly appeared to struggle to build a team around the Portugal captain, and it would be no great surprise if the 37-year-old is on the move again.

Regardless of whether Ronaldo stays, Ten Hag will need to be backed in the transfer market and there must be a big overhaul, with Paul Pogba among those expected to depart.

Bring back silverware

There is no plainer objective for the new boss – he will be marked as a success or a failure by the trophies he wins during his time at the helm.

Solskjaer left the club with the third-best win rate in United's history, but he paid the price for a lack of silverware.

United have only been top of the Premier League at the end of a calendar month twice since Alex Ferguson left – in September 2015 and August 2017. It will surely take Ten Hag time to get them challenging for the title again, so he must ensure they make their presence felt in cup competitions.

Consider the captaincy

It has been a season to forget for United captain Harry Maguire.

The Red Devils skipper's talents are clear, as he has shown for club and country, but the centre-back has lost his way at Old Trafford.

The responsibility of leading a struggling side appears to have affected the England defender, and Ten Hag may decide to start his reign by appointing a new captain.

After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

John Murtough says Erik ten Hag landed the Manchester United job after he "deeply impressed" the hierarchy with his "long-term vision" for the club.

United on Thursday confirmed Ajax head coach Ten Hag will replace interim manager Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season.

The 52-year-old has agreed a deal until June 2025, subject to being granted a visa, with the option of extending his stay at Old Trafford by a further year.

Ten Hag has won two Eredivisie titles and the KNVB Cup twice since taking charge of Ajax in December 2017.

The Amsterdam giants are poised to lift the Eredivisie trophy again at the end of Ten Hag's reign, as they lead second-placed PSV by four points.

Football director Murtough revealed United were convinced the Dutchman is the right man to turn their fortunes around.

He told the club's official website: "During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team's attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

"In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that.

"We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer."

While Ten Hag has become accustomed to winning trophies at Ajax, he faces a big rebuilding job at United.

The Red Devils have not won a trophy for five years and are sixth in the Premier League, seemingly looking set to miss out on Champions League qualification after being hammered 4-0 by Liverpool on Tuesday.

Erik ten Hag is happy to have "clarity" on his managerial future with Manchester United, but insists he is fully focused on ensuring he leaves Ajax on a high note.

The Dutchman was confirmed as the Premier League outfit's next full-time manager on Thursday, succeeding interim boss Ralf Rangnick on a deal through June 2025.

It ends a lengthy courtship by the Red Devils to bring Ten Hag to Old Trafford, having parted ways with previous permanent boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in late 2021.

Speaking on his appointment, 52-year-old Ten Hag professed his delight to confirm the deal, but says he remains committed to bowing out with a third Eredivisie title in Amsterdam.

"I'm happy that it has been finalised and that it has been officially announced," Ten Hag told Ajax's official website. "That clarity is important.

"But I only have one interest now and that's these last five games. I want to finish my time here on a positive note, by winning the league.

"By doing so, we'll qualify directly for the Champions League. Ajax belongs there."

Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar – a former United player – added Ten Hag was making the journey to "one of the biggest clubs" in the sport, and thanked him for his time in charge.

"Four and a half years is a good amount of time, but we would have liked to have kept Erik at Ajax for longer," Van der Sar said.

"He is going to make the step to one of the biggest clubs in the world, in a fantastic league. We owe Erik a lot of thanks for what he has achieved with Ajax so far, but we are not done yet.

 "At the end of the season, I will look back more extensively on his departure. For now, what matters is the final games of the season in which we all want to bring home the league title."

After months of speculation, Manchester United have confirmed Erik ten Hag will take over as the club's new manager at the end of another frustrating season at Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old will have a huge job on his hands when he arrives this summer, with the Red Devils looking unlikely to qualify for the Champions League after struggling under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick this term.

High up on Ten Hag's to-do list will be deciding who amongst the current squad will be suited to playing his high-pressing, possession-based style of football.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to give an insight into three players who could impress under the Dutchman, and three who may find their days numbered after his arrival…

Who might star under Ten Hag?

Donny Van de Beek

An easy choice. Van de Beek emerged as a star under Ten Hag's tutelage at Ajax, and was a driving force being the Amsterdam giants' terrific run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19. Installed as a creative midfielder alongside Frenkie de Jong, Van de Beek scored three goals and provided two assists during that famous run, with only Dusan Tadic (six) outscoring him for Ajax in the competition.

Having played a paltry 381 minutes for United across 14 appearances this season before being sent on loan to Everton in January, the 25-year-old looks the most obvious player to benefit from the arrival of his former coach

Jadon Sancho

Another player likely to thrive under Ten Hag is England winger Jadon Sancho, who has registered five goals and three assists in 37 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils since moving from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Only Bruno Fernandes (98) has created more open-play chances for United this term than Sancho (47), and he definitely stands to benefit from the arrival of a coach whose teams play with genuine width.

Each of Tadic (15), Antony (12), and Steven Berghuis (11) have reached double figures for Eredivisie goals for Ajax this term, so their former coach could be the man to get the best of the England man.

Luke Shaw

Ten Hag's Ajax team deployed their full-backs as a key attacking threat, with Argentine left-back Nicolas Tagliafico netting three goals during 2018-19's Champions League run.

Amongst Premier League defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold created more than the 72 chances crafted by Red Devils left-back Shaw during the 2020-21 season, and the England man could rediscover that form if unleashed by United's new boss.

Who might see their position threatened?

Harry Maguire 

The United skipper has faced much criticism for his role in another poor campaign for the Red Devils, and could be the first big-name casualty of Ten Hag's attempts to install a more progressive style of play.

No United defender has made as many errors leading to shots as Maguire in the Premier League this term (three), while his passing accuracy of 86.37 per cent is marginally lower than those of fellow defenders Raphael Varane (87.47) and Victor Lindelof (86.63), potentially marking out the England man as ripe for a replacement.

David De Gea

When another possession-hungry coach arrived in Manchester back in 2016, one of his first moves involved finding a goalkeeper he could trust to participate as his team tried to build from the back.

That man, of course, was Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, and Ten Hag could look to replicate his acquisition of Ederson by replacing De Gea. The Spaniard has recorded a pass accuracy of just 68.81 per cent in the Premier League this season, way short of elite rivals Ederson (88.35) and Allison (85.22).

Cristiano Ronaldo

Hear us out on this one. The legendary striker's goalscoring prowess remains unrivalled, and his 21 goals in all competitions since returning to Old Trafford last summer put him a long way clear of his nearest team-mate (Bruno Fernandes with nine).

However, the height of Ten Hag's success at Ajax came with Tadic used as a false nine in 2018-19, recording 10 goal involvements (six goals, four assists) during their thrilling European run. 

Besides, with Ronaldo's 140 strikes placing him at the top of the Champions League's all-time top goalscoring charts, can the 37-year-old really be expected to forgo playing in European football's premier competition if United fail to qualify? If not, a potentially tough decision regarding his future could be taken out of Ten Hag's hands.

Manchester United have confirmed that Erik ten Hag will take over as their new manager at the end of the season.

After months of speculation, the 52-year-old Ajax boss will succeed Ralf Rangnick in the Old Trafford hotseat at the end of a frustrating campaign for the Red Devils.

With Rangnick moving upstairs to take on a consultancy role at the club, Ten Hag has agreed a contract until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

Ten Hag, who will take charge subject to being issued with a visa, told United's official website: "It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead. 

"I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.

"It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United."

Ten Hag has won two Eredivisie titles and the KNVB Cup twice since joining Ajax in 2017, and will hope to bow out after securing a third league crown in the coming weeks, with the Amsterdam giants leading second-placed PSV by four points.

Meanwhile, the Red Devils' season hit a new low this week when they were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield, leaving their chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League looking slim.

United will have endured five seasons without lifting a major trophy by the time Ten Hag starts work.

Manchester United have confirmed that Erik ten Hag will take over as their new manager at the end of the season.

After months of speculation, the 52-year-old Ajax boss will succeed Ralf Rangnick in the Old Trafford hotseat at the end of a frustrating campaign for the Red Devils.

With Rangnick moving upstairs to take on a consultancy role at the club, Ten Hag has agreed a contract until June 2025, with the option of a further year.

Paul Scholes and Didier Drogba lead the latest slate of inductees to the Premier League Hall of Fame, it was announced on Thursday.

Former Manchester United midfielder Scholes and ex-Chelsea striker Drogba head the remaining six names of the Class of 2022.

Patrick Vieira and Wayne Rooney had already been announced as two of the eight players to be bestowed with the honour, following last year's inaugural group of players.

They are joined now by Scholes and Drogba, alongside Arsenal legend Ian Wright, ex-Red Devils goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany.

Widely acclaimed as the greatest midfielder of his generation, Scholes – a one-club man between 1993 and 2013 – won the Premier League 11 times during his playing days.

Drogba, who spent two different spells with the Blues, proved a cornerstone of Chelsea's elevation to regular contenders in the competition.

Wright helped Arsenal to the title in 1997-98 before a brief spell with West Ham and remains the Gunners' second-highest scorer ever, behind only previous inductee Thierry Henry.

Schmeichel, who remains the only goalkeeper to win the Premier League Player of the Year Award, in 1995-96, is the first shotstopper to be inducted.

Kompany, a four-time Premier League winner during an acclaimed spell at City, helped usher in the team's modern era of dominance.

Aguero, meanwhile, is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history, having scored 184 goals in just 275 appearances.

The six players were inducted via a public ballot, after Vieira and Rooney had been selected as automatic picks.

Tic tac, tic tac, as it goes in the Spanish media. Real Madrid's courting of Kylian Mbappe has long avoided subtlety and discretion, but he remains their primary target.

The Paris Saint-Germain attacker has just about become the world's best footballer in the meantime, contributing an extraordinary 33 goals and 18 assists in 41 appearances across all competitions this term.

A move to the Spanish capital at the end of the season remains a possibility, and reports suggest Real Madrid will go all out to make it happen.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE REMAINS MADRID'S PRIMARY TARGET

Real Madrid are confident they will sign Kylian Mbappe amid the increasing likelihood of Erling Haaland joining Manchester City, according to the Daily Mail.

With the end of the season and the subsequent expiration of the 23-year-old's contract nearing, Madrid and Mbappe have yet to sign a pre-contractual agreement as a means of not disrespecting PSG.

While the club are playing the waiting game, they remain confident for the sole fact a new deal with PSG has not yet been signed and confirmed.

Mbappe has reportedly remained the club's first preference despite interest in Haaland, who appears set to join Manchester City.

ROUND-UP

 Anthony Martial appears set to return to Manchester United with Sevilla not interested in making his loan deal permanent, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Dejan Kulusevski will join Tottenham from Juventus on a permanent basis despite another season left on his 18-month loan, reports the Evening Standard.

– According to Tuttosport, Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici has also identified Torino defensive pair Gleison Bremer and Wilfried Singo as potential targets.

Real Madrid are also keen on signing Jude Bellingham but Borussia Dortmund are intent on keeping the 18-year-old and are prepared to increase his standing at the club, Bild is reporting.

Liverpool can win the Premier League title despite having a tougher run-in than rivals Manchester City, according to former Reds defender Jose Enrique.

Enrique, who made 76 top-flight appearances for the Reds, also believes Jurgen Klopp's team could count the season as a success even if they do not record a second Premier League triumph under the German.

A 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United moved Klopp's men top of the league ahead of City hosting Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday, keeping the Reds in contention for an incredible quadruple.

After watching his old team rout United, Enrique believes Liverpool can go on to secure a 20th English top-flight title despite a seemingly less favourable run-in than fellow contenders City.

"I hope so, I really believe they can [win the league]," he told Stats Perform. "Listen, the reality is what Klopp and the players said, you depend on yourself for winning the remaining games, that's what you can do. 

"Let's see what happens, at the moment it's still in Manchester City's hands, that's the reality. They [Liverpool] can [only] do what they say, take it game-by-game and try to win all the remaining games.

"That isn't easy, obviously you're coming into Everton now, they are in a very bad moment, but again anything can happen.

"Obviously the most difficult fixtures on paper are for Liverpool, but I really believe they can do it.

"But it's true that if they win all the remaining games and at the end, they [still] don't win it, for me, it will still be a massive success for the club."

Liverpool's 4-0 thrashing of Ralf Rangnick's side, coupled with a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this campaign, means Klopp's team have hit nine goals past the Red Devils without reply this term, with only Sunderland in 1892-93 (11-0) ever recording a more dominant combined league triumph over United.

Although Enrique enjoyed watching Liverpool tear their rivals apart at Anfield, he expressed sympathy for Rangnick's team and said he would like to see the rivals face off on a more level playing field.

"You enjoy it, you know, nine goals against them this season, five away from home and four obviously at Anfield, a clean sheet in both of them." he added. 

"Listen, in a way I feel sorry about them [United]. Because the rivalry between both clubs has always been the best in the Premier League, this kind of game is even more important. 

"So, in a way, I would like actually a better game, you know, from that side, a little more complicated [for Liverpool], but at the same time, we're fighting for every single title."

The defeat represented a new low in another frustrating season for United, who are now winless in eight head-to-head clashes with Liverpool (three draws, five losses).

Enrique was exasperated by Bruno Fernandes suggesting his team had nothing to play for after the defeat, the Spaniard stating he has never seen a greater divide between players and fans at United.

"It's like they weren't playing for anything at Manchester," he added. "[But] you have to actually work to try to get in the top four, and then after the game, you see Bruno Fernandes having an interview and saying they aren't playing for anything and Liverpool is playing for a title. 

"They are actually trying to play to get into the top four, I don't know, I think I've never seen a United team like this season before.

"Definitely the difference between the clubs, at the moment, is massive, I really believe they need to get rid of some other players, there will be some of them that finish their contract as well.

"They need to get that manager that they trust, and then you can see the unity between the fans and club. I've never seen that before, you know?

"I think they [United's players and fans] are very very far away from each other… very, very far away. The farthest away I have seen."

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