sport news How Man United swung a 33-POINT deficit in their favour over Liverpool

Finally, the wait is almost over. make the short trip to arch rivals Liverpool on Sunday desperate to prove that they really are the real deal in the Premier League title race, and not just the pretenders.

Last season, a Liverpool victory against United at Anfield was viewed as a formality thanks to the Reds' stunning form, and that proved to be the case after they ran out 2-0 winners thanks to Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.

But ahead of this Sunday's showpiece Premier League fixture, the picture could hardly be any different as United have slowly but surely muscled their way to the top of the Premier League pile, sitting three points above Jurgen Klopp's men after 17 games.

Man United will be desperate to show they mean business in the title race against Liverpool

Man United will be desperate to show they mean business in the title race against Liverpool

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Liverpool find themselves below rivals United in the midst of a three-match winless streak

Liverpool find themselves below rivals United in the midst of a three-match winless streak

When you consider how Liverpool stormed to their first ever Premier League title last season, finishing an eye-watering 33 points ahead of the Red Devils and with a far superior 22+ goal difference, United's march to the top really is extraordinary.

United are still widely expected to wilt away in the title race at some stage, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side travel to Anfield in buoyant mood and will be quietly optimistic of getting a result to prove they're in it for the long haul.

But while previewing Sunday's eagerly-anticipated fixture, it's hard to look past the rivals' difference in fortunes last season.

It has been almost a year to the day since Liverpool's 2-0 win at Anfield over United in the top-flight, and at the same stage last season - 17 matches in  - the Reds found themselves 10 points clear of their nearest title challengers, and already a staggering 24 above the Red Devils.

Liverpool inevitably went onto claim the Premier League crown in emphatic , placing 18 points clear of Manchester City in second with United 15 further back in third.

Liverpool won an astonishing 32 matches compared to United's 18 after their slow start to the season.

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Liverpool claimed a 2-0 victory over their bitter rivals the last time the teams met at Anfield

Liverpool claimed a 2-0 victory over their bitter rivals the last time the teams met at Anfield

The Reds stormed to the title last season, finishing 18 points ahead of Man City in second

The Reds stormed to the title last season, finishing 18 points ahead of Man City in second

Klopp's men also only drew three times and lost as many games, while United came unstuck on eight occasions while being held in 12 matches.

This time round, Liverpool have found their match and more, with United winning 11 out of 17 games compared to their rivals' nine.

The Reds have also been stung in their title charge by six draws already and two losses, having missed the opportunity to gain any sort of momentum in their last three matches against West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton.

So far this season, Liverpool are picking up just 1.94 points per game compared to last term's rapid rate of 2.61, while United's win percentage has picked up considerably.  

Furthermore, the long-term injuries to centre backs Van Dijk and Joe Gomez have damaged Klopp's side badly.

In just 17 fixtures this season, Klopp has intriguingly deployed 10 different centre back partnerships, and that flip-flopping has certainly weakened the side's backbone.

Bruno Fernandes has changed United's fortunes drastically since his Premier League debut

Bruno Fernandes has changed United's fortunes drastically since his Premier League debut

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