Man Utd spent £85m on a secondary centre-back in Maguire, they’ll need to spend £100m to get him a Van-Dijk-like partner – The Sun

MANCHESTER UNITED offered no shocks as they were beaten by their bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

While Jurgen Klopp's Reds continue their imperious march towards a first title in 30 years, the Red Devils are trudging along in the Europa League spots with Wolves and Sheffield United.

Much has been made of the length of time since Liverpool last won the league, but now that the waiting appears to finally be over on Merseyside, United fans will be starting to sweat on their own title drought.

They last won the league under Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the greatest football leaders of all time, with a defence marshalled by Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

While the pair couldn't always play together that year, the presence of at least one of them would spur on the likes of Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans or Phil Jones alongside them.

The feeling at Old Trafford for a while was that, among other things, United needed a new centre-back – stretching back to Jose Mourinho's time at the club.

In the summer they finally did spend big on one, splurging £85million on Leicester's Harry Maguire – £10million more than the Reds bought Virgil van Dijk for.

But while the Dutchman has had a transformational effect on Klopp's back-line, Maguire's impact, it's fair to say, has been so-so.

While the 26-year-old is undoubtedly a good player, is "good" enough to drag Manchester United back to where they want to be?

On Sky Sports before the game, former United skipper-turned-pundit Roy Keane described Maguire, this week appointed the club's new captain, as "a sensible lad".

That's all very well, but does "sensible" win titles? Does "sensible" make sure that there is no way that Virgil van Dijk gets a free header from a corner to put his side 1-0 up?

Does it, through sheer force of personality, ensure that Victor Lindelof doesn't lose concentration and gift the Reds a second – fortunately disallowed by VAR – moments later?

Maguire is a good player in the same way that Joel Matip, for example, is a good player.

But the difference is that when Joel Matip plays, he is now partnered in Liverpool's defence by a generational, commanding, inspirational leader in Van Dijk – while Maguire is partnered by Lindelof – another player that on a good day you might describe as "sensible".

Of course, United have other issues, such as Fred starting his 16th consecutive Premier League game in their midfield, and Dan James being so heavily relied on in his debut season at the club.

And in addressing one of these, they look likely to fork out £60m+ on Bruno Fernandes in the coming days.

But they may have to face the reality that if they are to get back to where they want to be, they will have to splash out again on a new defender.

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