Liverpool and Man Utd have had similar transfer targets lately, but only one team is winning the race there. This leads to a wider look of both clubs.
When Liverpool sign players, they usually manage to make those moves well. Jurgen Klopp’s side haven’t made enough transfers, so they need a few more midfielders after Alexis Mac Allister, but the new signings tend to be good value for money.
Mac Allister looks set to be the next one, following in the footsteps of Cody Gakpo and others in recent times who will prove to be steals compared to their market value, with Liverpool spotting something that others have not.
However, that doesn’t mean Liverpool were the only team that wanted one of these players. The same can be said for Darwin Núñez and although the Uruguayan is yet to be decided, he scored 15 goals in his debut season and is expected to improve on that tally in his second season.
There were other options for Mac Allister, Gakpo and Núñez. The Times had reported that Manchester United were also interested in Mac Allister, but the Argentine opted for Liverpool instead, while the Old Trafford side were also interested in Gakpo and Núñez ahead of their move to England.
All three of these players opted for Liverpool over Manchester United, with Mac Allister doing so ahead of a season where the Reds will play in the Europa League and Erik ten Hag’s men have finished in the Champions League zone.
It’s possible Liverpool and Manchester United will go head-to-head for more players this summer – both look up to Chelsea’s Mason Mount, for example – but a pattern has already emerged that suggests Klopp’s side are not behind.
This is because it seems very likely that Liverpool can challenge for the title again next season. While last year was a poor season by their standards, it is Liverpool who have proved capable of putting up a tally of over 90 points of late.
It is also Liverpool who have a more rounded squad. Most of the starting eleven are already strong with no key players injured and with a functioning midfield that Mac Allister can lead, a big improvement seems logical.
At Manchester United, meanwhile, there are key gaps that need filling. Improvements are needed in goal and up front, while there are players like Jadon Sancho and Harry Maguire that are on big money but without a proper role.
The lack of Champions League football has only proved detrimental to Liverpool as there is a link between failing to make the top four and deciding that Jude Bellingham alone will not solve the problems in the center of the pitch.
But in terms of finding those solutions, there is no reason to think that Liverpool’s summer business will be drastically altered by not finishing ahead of Manchester United or Newcastle.
Had Liverpool finished in the top four despite a difficult season, it would still have required two or three half-back additions and the objectives would have been identical.
There can only be one reason for this, other than the state of the squad which suggests Liverpool will be competitive again: there is a huge charm in Klopp that perhaps only Pep Guardiola can match.
Missing out on Champions League was definitely not a good thing for Liverpool, but any suggestion that Manchester United are now ahead of Klopp’s side can quickly be dismissed by the evidence in the transfer market.