Danny Murphy: Man United will win EPL
Ex-Liverpool player also urges Reds fans to keep faith with Klopp
Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has backed the Reds' arch-rivals Manchester United to win this season's Premier League, saying Jose Mourinho has the best squad in the English top flight.
United got off to a sizzling start to their campaign, winning four and drawing one in their opening five league matches.
On Sunday, they thumped Everton 4-0 to go joint-top on the table, alongside Manchester City.
The Red Devils will begin the defence of their League Cup trophy tomorrow morning (Singapore time), when they take on Championship side Burton Albion in the third round of the League Cup.
Having played 267 games and scored 44 goals for his boyhood club Liverpool from 1997 to 2004, Murphy winced when he was asked to predict this season's champions.
At the press conference for the Battle of the Masters brought to you by American Express CapitaCard yesterday, the 40-year-old said: "Unfortunately, I think Man United will win it, which pains me to say, but I think they will.
"They simply have got the best squad. Manchester City look good as well, but when you look at choosing two teams for all the clubs, United's two teams have been the best.
"And Mourinho's a pragmatist who doesn't mind shutting up shop or playing nasty to win games.
"Pep Guardiola (of Man City) is more of a purist and sometimes in the Premier League that might bite you, so United might just edge it."
Liverpool, on the other hand, are going through a wobbly spell after a promising start.
Manager Juergen Klopp has drawn plenty of flak following a three-game winless run which has seen them slip to eighth in the standings.
Pep Guardiola (of Man City) is more of a purist and sometimes in the Premier League that might bite you, so United might just edge it.Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy
After last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Burnley, a rant by a Liverpool fan named Frank on the 606 show on BBC radio went viral.
On the show, the fan described the team as "one of the biggest circuses", called Klopp the "biggest clown of the lot" and accused him of not having a Plan B or Plan C.
But Murphy branded the fan an "idiot", and defended Klopp as a "clever guy".
He said: "This plan B, plan C nonsense, he's a bright guy, Klopp, he's a good coach.
"Did anyone talk about the fact that when they beat Arsenal 4-0 at home, they dropped off?
"At Anfield, playing Arsenal, they completely dropped off into their own half, let Arsenal come at them and hit them on the break, and won 4-0.
"Does he always play like that? No, he usually presses. Is that a plan B, is that a plan C, what's that?
"That's a guy who is clever and said, 'This week, we are going to play like this. Next week, we are going to play like that'."
The recent wave of disappointment in the stands came after Liverpool failed to reinforce a brittle defence before the transfer window closed last month. They have leaked 14 goals in eight games this term.
But Murphy has backed the club's transfer strategy.
He said: "If you want (Southampton's) Virgil van Dijk and you can't get him, do you go and spend half of that on a player similar to Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan, have him on the wage bill, if you are going to get van Dijk in four months' time?
"It's a difficult one. I quite like a manager who doesn't feel he has to spend, spend, spend just to get players in, because he believes he can work with them and make them better."
The former England international also feels Klopp's constant tinkering of the backline does not help Liverpool's cause.
Goalkeepers Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have taken turns to start in goal this term, as have Lovren and Klavan in the heart of defence as Joel Matip's partner.
It's also anyone's guess when it comes to Andrew Robertson or Alberto Moreno at left back, and Trent Alexander-Arnold or Joe Gomez at right back.
But, despite the problems Liverpool are facing, Murphy still believe they can retain their Champions League spot for next season.
He said: "A good season for Klopp is to maintain top four, get through the group stages of the Champions League, and win a trophy because ultimately that's what you're judged on.
"If that doesn't happen, there will be question marks."
This year's Battle of the Masters features teams from Singapore, Liverpool and Arsenal in three 40-minute round-robin matches at the National Stadium on Nov 11.