United have surged up the table in recent weeks with their 1-0 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night moving them above Liverpool into first place.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side endured a mixed start to the campaign but have put together a remarkable 11-match unbeaten run including nine wins.
Meanwhile, champions Liverpool are without a victory in their last three Premier League games and are just a point ahead of third-placed side Leicester City.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are sixth with two games in hand, while big-spending Chelsea, who Jurgen Klopp called title favourites in December, are marooned down in ninth after losing four of their last six matches.
This weekend’s clash between Liverpool and United at Anfield could be pivotal, with the Red Devils able to go six points clear of their rivals with a win.
And speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Liverpool v Man United, Silvestre admitted he can only see the current top three contending for the title.
‘For me there are only three teams in this year’s title race: Man United, Liverpool, and I’m going to put Leicester in there as well,’ the ex-Red Devils defender said.
‘It’s a wide-open season and it’s good for Man United to be in the race instead of playing catch-up and looking on from a distance. Now it’s just a case of staying up there. They’re in a very positive position at this point in the campaign.
‘The great thing is that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn’t changed anything in recent weeks. From United’s poor run to where they are now, he’s stuck to his plans and his ideas. Solskjaer didn’t have to change anything; it was more that the players had to respond to what he was asking them to do.
‘United had a fantastic run at the back end of last season, then they managed to bring in some names where the club identified weaknesses and clearly they’re now back on track. Ole just wanted that consistency and it looks like it’s back now.
‘There’s enough quality in there to challenge for the title. But football is a funny game; you can’t afford to relax because you’ll slip down one or two more places in the table. You need to stay focussed.
‘I wouldn’t have predicted Man United to be at the top of the table in January back at the start of the season, but that’s the beauty of the game. They’ve taken advantage of other teams’ misfortunes. It’s why the Premier League in general is so interesting. It’s great to see United in that position; I’d call it a very good surprise.’