What Liverpool crisis? Makeshift defender Fabinho would walk into Man Utd’s XI - Paul Parker
Are Manchester United back in form after winning three matches in a row? Should Tottenham be considered serious Premier League title contenders? And what message did Liverpool’s victory over Leicester send out to the rest of the sides challenging at the top? Ex-Man Utd defender Paul Parker tackles these questions in his latest column for Eurosport.
Fabinho has been deputising at centre-back for Liverpool
You don't know what you're going to get next with United. They've got a difficult game at the weekend at Southampton, so if they don't get a result there the whole process starts again.
They won a game on Tuesday they should have won away from home earlier in the group stage. Team selection is key, so if they go out and play with the intention to win it and not concentrate too much about who they're playing against, that always gives them a better chance.
The problem they've got is that as attack minded as they are, there will still always be massive question marks about the centre halves, because even last night they were on edge. Because they've won three on the bounce, that doesn't say United are back. The way the Premier League is at the moment, no one is on stable ground.
There's a good chance Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will go back to two holding midfield players, non-creative players in midfield, and then in the Champions League go back to what he did against Istanbul.
Bruno Fernandes | Manchester United v Istanbul Basaksehir
Image credit: Getty Images
It's about the state of mind that the players go out against Southampton in. If you see Fred and McTominay playing that will give you a picture of how the game might be. Southampton would break that down easier.
I don't think the players feel freer in the Champions League, Solskjaer certainly doesn't because he knows every game he's under pressure. United are always walking on a tightrope.
If they're top of the league then they are contenders, unless they fall away and you see a decline. They're there because they're winning games in front of them. They had good fortune against City, they got dominated. Everyone wants to call it a Jose Mourinho masterclass, but it was sitting back deep and hoping your players can deliver something for you.
They're there on merit, but I think there's a lot more to go in this league. It's maybe the most open league there has been for quite a while.
Jose Mourinho i Pep Guardiola
Image credit: Getty Images
Mourinho has been doing this since he arrived in England. He just plays that negative fashion of sitting back and not chasing it. That's how he plays. Spurs are playing that way, it's not Spurs, but I'm sure their fans will accept doing it this way at this moment in time.
In this ghost league we don't know what will happen next, no idea at all. There's no guarantee in any games. Crystal Palace battered Burnley, Burnley won 1-0 - their first win of the season.
Now even Burnley aren't the Burnley of old, but still they got a win of old. You don't know what you will get from one game to the next.
Liverpool’s statement of intent
If you're a Championship player you play this frequency [in line with what is being asked of Premier League players] of football anyway, with all the cup games too. They do it relentlessly and the players won't complain, it means they're earning money.
The one I heard is, ‘Ah because they're in Europe it's causing them injuries’, but if you're not in Europe it means you've not been successful, and that you've got a lot of money and have not invested in the squad.
Liverpool go all in for Upamecano – Euro Papers
Don't disrespect your squad by whinging about players who are out injured, that's my way of looking at it. Liverpool, even though they've been whinging, they played the other day and looked faultless against a Leicester side who had won a few games with Brendan Rodgers tipped to become the next England manager.
All of a sudden Leicester go to Liverpool and are outclassed against a so-called makeshift back four. You can see Liverpool were never in trouble, no Mohamed Salah but Diogo Jota has been the most value-for-money £40m-odd spent for a while. At the moment, the team showing week in, week out of what they really are is Liverpool again.
They're playing in the same kind of fashion as last season, it's not rolling the same as it was because opposing teams are building up not to allow them to run away with it, but still you can see the quality. If there was a side I can see winning the league at this moment in time, it's Liverpool. They're not hanging in, sitting back, they're winning games and positive in every area of the park.
They could go out there and compete against any team with that side they had out. That back four never had a problem. Fabinho in that back four, shows he is a very, very, very good centre-half. He'd be the best centre-half if he went to United.