Manchester United are a “concern” for Liverpool, says Steve Nicol, with the defending champions aware that arch-rivals are now breathing down their neck in the Premier League title race.
The latest round of top-flight fixtures, which were the last of 2020, delivered contrasting fortunes for two old adversaries.
United ensured that they rounded off the calendar year in style, with a dramatic late winner from Marcus Rashford seeing them edge out Wolves.
Liverpool were unable to replicate that hard-fought success when taking in a cagey contest of their own at Newcastle.
Jurgen Klopp’s side fluffed their lines at St James’ Park, with a 0-0 draw all they could muster on Tyneside.
That result was enough to keep them three points clear at the top of the table, but United now sit second and boast a game in hand on the defending champions.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been finding a way to get the job done this season, without always being at their best, and Nicol believes that will have those at Anfield glancing anxiously over their shoulder.
The former Reds defender told ESPN FC: “You look at Liverpool’s result and Man Utd’s result, the performance from one team that dominated the game, should have won very, very comfortably but yet end up with one point and then you’ve got a team in United coming up on the rails who pretty much didn’t deserve anything.
“There’s no way they deserve to win this game [against Wolves] but they end up winning and getting three points. So that has to be a concern.
“At the end of the day, Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will be looking at themselves, try not to look elsewhere, and just get the job done. But you have to be concerned with United because regardless of how they play right now, they’re getting victories.”
Liverpool’s superior goal difference means that they will not be knocked from top spot on New Year’s Day, when United take in a home date with Aston Villa, but their lead at the summit could disappear.
Klopp’s side will not be action again until Monday, when they make the long journey south to face Southampton at St Mary’s.