Fri, 14 Aug 2020

The signing of Virgil van Dijk in January 2018 turned Klopp's Liverpool from entertainers into serial winners.

United were hoping for the same impact when they broke the world transfer record for a defender by signing Harry Maguire for Pound 80 million in August -- five million more than Van Dijk.

The England international has struggled to match those lofty expectations and was fiercely criticised as recently as United's first game of the Premier League's restart as his lack of pace was exposed by Tottenham's Steven Bergwijn for the opening goal in a 1-1 draw.

However, there are signs he is tightening up a United defence that has now kept 11 clean sheets in the 15-game unbeaten run, including two shutouts in victories over Manchester City and a 2-0 win at Chelsea in February.

Another expensive summer recruit, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, is also justifying his Pound 50 million fee at right-back as for the first time in many years, United's transfer spending is bearing fruit.

'Special talent'

At the other end of the pitch, another trait of United's glory days under Ferguson is also being rekindled in the emergence of Mason Greenwood.

The 18-year-old scored the opener at Brighton to take his tally for the season to 13 before setting up Fernandes's second.

"He's a special talent, a special kid that we're going to look after and try to develop into a top, top player," said Solskjaer.

An exciting front three of Greenwood, another United academy graduate Rashford, 22, and Anthony Martial, 24, also gives Solskjaer cause for optimism that even better things are to come.

Between them Greenwood, Rashford and Martial have now scored 51 goals this season, the same number of Liverpool's lauded trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

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