Jürgen Klopp and his Liverpool side have started the new season in blistering form, with a 100 per cent record still intact after game week four and the Reds currently sitting at the top of the Premier League table.
There is a real feel-good factor surrounding Liverpool, a tangible togetherness oozing from every brick of Anfield and a growing optimism that the squad could be on the brink of something special.
However, down the M62, things are looking slightly less rosy.
Jose Mourinho is under pressure, and looks to be cracking under it, too. His Manchester United side slipped to two embarrassing defeats at the hands of Brighton and then Spurs, with his side putting in abject performances in both games.
The team looks disjointed, unhappy and unenthusiastic at best, and many are criticising Mourinho’s management style and reporting rifts at senior level and between the manager and his players. If true, the questions are rightly being asked of him.
People have also been quick to point out that managers like Klopp seem to be receiving endless praise – but that’s with good reason at the moment, and here’s why.
Klopp has revolutionised Liverpool in every single aspect. The whole aura of the club has been flipped entirely on its head since his appointment back in October 2015. Let’s start by looking at his management and relationship with his players.
While many Liverpool players, Steven Gerrard included, were very complimentary of Brendan Rodgers’ managerial style (in particular his man-management), it’s safe to say that Liverpool have gone up another level with Klopp.
He has built something special with his squad – maybe it’s his hugs? His rapport with the entire squad cannot be matched. The squad is like a family and Klopp loves them. In turn, when they enter the field of battle on match days, the team return that love for their manager by turning up and being counted and joining together as one of the best teams in Europe and the Premier League.
This is a stark contrast to Mourinho’s situation at Old Trafford. There’s a sense of unease, uncertainty and trepidation surrounding the place, with rumours of rifts and unhappiness at all levels which is never good for a football team; especially when these rifts are taking place between players and their manager.
Take the Luke Shaw and Paul Pogba situations. Would you ever hear Klopp lambast a player like he did to Shaw? He hasn’t and never will, just look at his reaction to the Karius situation after the Champions League final in Kiev as a prime example.
And Pogba, a man who thinks he’s above rule and reason, turning up as and when he sees fit. He’d not get near this Liverpool team or squad as Klopp simply wouldn’t take him. And that’s another difference between the two, and one that sets Liverpool streets ahead of their arch rivals. The Reds are a sanctimonious squad. A band of brothers, if you will. These are players that care for each other both on and off the pitch and it really shows.
Put all of this together, and you create harmony at the club on all levels which transcends to the fans, who in turn give their all for the club, even more so than at any other time in living memory.
Liverpool fans always, always turn up and are counted to support their team, but at this moment, it all feels different.
Everyone is pulling the same direction, the club is making waves and the fans love it – and rightly so.
If you’re a Manchester United fan, you must absolutely hate seeing what’s going on at Anfield right now, because it’s the exact opposite to the environment that Mourinho has created and continues to add to at Old Trafford. It’s toxic.
From a Liverpool perspective, however, it makes us all feel rather smug. It’d be nice to see it go on for a bit longer, wouldn’t it?