“Sometimes you can't put your finger on it [but] something's not right.”

“They are just plateauing. I'm not sure Liverpool can get to first. I don't think they will get above [United] this year."

“You know that Manchester United are going to beat Liverpool on Sunday and that's a fact!”

It wouldn’t have been the formative weeks of a Premier League season if Gary Neville wasn’t making big, bold Liverpool predictions, writing them off in favour of his beloved Manchester United.

After the Reds’ draw with Chelsea back in August, the Red Devils legend insisted all was not well at Anfield. That something is not right. That they are not capable of toppling Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

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Even in the weeks that followed, as Jurgen Klopp ’s men remained unbeaten while United suffered defeats at the hands of Young Boys, West Ham United, Aston Villa and Leicester City, putting in unconvincing performance after convincing performance, he headed into Sunday’s match between the two sides adamant that his old club would come out on top.

How wrong he was.

Something is not right but it is at Old Trafford rather than Anfield.

Without even being at their best, Liverpool embarrassed United from start to finish on Sunday, running out 5-0 winners thanks to goals from Naby Keita, Diogo Jota and a Mohamed Salah hat-trick.

In truth, it probably would have been more had a Paul Pogba red card for an ugly challenge on Keita not prompted the Reds to take their foot off the pedal, well aware their job was already done.

Neville has been proven wrong about Liverpool countless times before. On the eve of the 2019/20, a year which would see the Reds crowned champions, he famously declared United would win a title before Klopp’s men.

But this is a new embarrassment, both for United and for Neville, as Liverpool made him eat his words in the most soul-destroying of ways.

"I was at the game on Saturday, Liverpool v Chelsea, and I said after the game - sometimes you can't put your finger on it [but] something's not right,” he insisted back in August.

"Not bad. There's no massive spirit issue, or the manager falling out with players. Nothing like that.

"But there is something just missing. I remember going three years ago and thinking 'we [United] are in trouble'. Two years ago thinking, 'we are in serious trouble'.

"The crowd. The players. The speed of the football. The front three. Alisson and Van Dijk came. Oh dear. They are going to win the league.

"You can just feel it and see when something is right. It's just not there [now], that team has gone a little bit just over the edge.

"They are not the team they were two years ago. They are a good team by the way - they will win a lot of games. They'll go close.

"But I don't think they are there. There is something just not quite right."

He added, when speaking to the Webby & O'Neill Youtube channel a few hours before the transfer window closed: "There are no massive problems at Liverpool. I'm not saying it is broken. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

"But I don't think they have got the momentum with them at this moment.

“They are just plateauing. I'm not sure Liverpool can get to first. I don't think they will get above [United] this year."

Where to start.

This Liverpool side still have the crowd, they have the players, they have the front three, they have Alisson and Van Dijk and have the speed of football too.

They proved exactly that at Old Trafford, and, if anything, are starting to look better than the side that won the league two years ago.

Now 22 games unbeaten in all competitions, their momentum has never been stronger. And while when winning the league, they were seeing out narrow victories on their way to title glory, now they are steamrolling over every opponent that stands before them with United the worst sufferers yet.

And did Neville really think United were in 'serious trouble' two years ago compared to their Anfield rivals? Let's take a look.

"What I’m saying is, Liverpool, City, Tottenham, all these clubs have had poor recruitment policies over the last 25 or 30 years at times," he told Sky Bet’s The Big Debate in August 2019.

"So United are going through one at the moment. Eventually they will stumble upon the right recruitment system, the right recruitment people, they’ll get a great manager – hopefully that’s Ole – and they’ll start to win again. That’s going to happen.

"I can guarantee you as clear as day, Manchester United will win again. They’ll probably win the league before Liverpool, in my opinion.

"And that’s not being disrespectful, they’ll probably win the league before Liverpool. I think they’ll win a league before Liverpool.

"They’re more ripe, they’re closer than you think and it’s not as bad as you think. That’s always the way it is.”

The evidence suggests otherwise. And if Neville didn’t think United were in ‘serious trouble’ back then, well he certainly should do now.

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"And Liverpool, Salah’s going to leave in the next 12 months, I can see it already,” he added in August 2019.

"He ( Jamie Carragher ) knows, he won’t say it. I can see it, you can feel it, you can smell it.”

Over two years later and it was the Egyptian who, still very much a Liverpool player, dismantled the Red Devils with ease as he became the first opposing player to score a Premier League hat-trick at Old Trafford.

That’s 15 goals for the season now for the 29-year-old, and five assists for good measure, with only a narrow VAR call against Burnley stopping him from having scored in every appearance so far this campaign.

So perhaps Neville’s gut feelings aren’t as intuitive as he’d let us believe.

What is it you can smell, Gary? Because I can sure as hell smell something and it’s not the start of a Reds demise, let me tell you.

United stinking the gaff out at Old Trafford, on the other hand…

Now, to be fair to Neville he wasn’t writing Liverpool off entirely. Merely pointing out that Klopp’s ageing squad might not be capable of reaching the same heights that they did two years ago.

Fair enough, only Man City’s 2017/18 champions have ever recorded a better record than the Reds’ own title win in 2019/20.

But is failing to match such a level going “a little bit just over the edge”? Does that mean Man City aren’t the same side they were in 2018 despite Peg Guardiola leading them to another two Premier League titles since then?

And Neville does feel Liverpool will go close in the title race, which is all anyone can ask for.

But at what standard do we draw the line here?

If Liverpool going close in a title race and falling just short is a measure of something not being right at a club, it really doesn’t bode well for the rest of the Football League ladder.

But while Neville wasn’t writing off Liverpool in the title race, he was heading into Sunday’s game.

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“On Sunday, this lot are an odd bunch, they could go out and do Liverpool. They have to get that spirit and dynamic right,” he said on last week’s Monday Night Football.

“You know that Manchester United are going to beat Liverpool on Sunday and that's a fact!” he added, after Carragher joked Cristiano Ronaldo would score the winner after he had left him out of his combined XI.

“And he knows it by the way!”

Admittedly predicting United would beat Liverpool on Sunday is by no means as out there as belittling the Reds’ title credentials in favour of his former club on declaring that Salah is on his way out.

And even in the midst of United’s underwhelming form, the re-signing of Ronaldo would have given him this unwarranted hope, convinced that the Portuguese maestro could fire United to the Premier League title.

Let’s just ignore the fact that forking out half-a-million quid a week on a 36-year-old, however talented, completely goes against his desire for the right recruitment system at Old Trafford back in 2019.

A signing for the sake of it, considering Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba already had those attacking positions nailed down.

Granted, he could have that ‘Eric Cantona factor’ they so clearly desire at Old Trafford and drag United back to winning ways. But so far, the evidence suggests otherwise.

What good did he do them on Sunday?

A disallowed goal here and a kick to Curtis Jones on the floor there, what else did the veteran really contribute, other than arms flailing in the air amongst all the whinging and whining?

In contrast, they could have done with a real number six. One who could have actually dealt with the superb Keita without forcing him from the pitch, and won control of a one-sided midfield battle.

Still, he could score a lot of goals though. Viva Ronaldo.

The failed Valencia manager really doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to pondering the fortunes of his former rivals, and the 5-0 thrashing of United was their latest, devastating response.

It’s getting to the point now where you have to question whether the Sky Sports pundit really believes his own utterances, or if such claims are made more out of hope than expectation.

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Old habits die hard.

Having been burnt countless times before, perhaps this time Neville will finally have learnt his lesson when it comes to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and can escape the truth no longer.

They are simply a much better team than Manchester United.

If not, by all means just keep the ammunition coming with your head buried in the sand, with the Reds now well-versed in the best possible way to make the former United defender eat his words time and time again.

They will not be phased by any bold prediction from Neville, boasting more than enough talent to do their talking on the pitch.

As they showed against United in their own backyard on Sunday.

Neville was a key player during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign at Old Trafford as they fought tooth and nail to knock Liverpool off their perch.

Now, 10 years on from mission accomplished, and the Reds are well-placed to wrestle it back.

There is no escape for Neville. He better get used to it.

And that’s a fact.