Rio Ferdinand has played down Manchester United’s chances of lifting the Champions League trophy this season and picked out rivals Manchester City and Liverpool as two of his favourites to triumph in the competition, along with current holders Bayern Munich.
City and Liverpool maintained their 100 per cent records in Europe this season with comfortable wins over Marseille and Midtjylland respectively on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Ferran Torres, İlkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling steered Pep Guardiola’s men to a comprehensive 3-0 victory away from home, while a pair of second-half strikes from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah sealed Liverpool all three points at Anfield.
Ferdinand was impressed with City’s performance and selected them as one of the frontrunners in this year’s competition – but the former United and England defender questioned whether Guardiola’s side have the ‘quality and consistency’ of Bayern and feels Liverpool are also a ‘stronger outfit’ this season.
Asked whether he would like City to win the competition, Ferdinand [laughing] replied: ‘I don’t think so! I don’t think you’re right there Gary (Lineker), no,’
‘But I want to see exciting football and when Manchester City are flying they’re such an exciting team to watch and I enjoy sitting here watching them.
‘Whether or not they’re going to have enough to get over the line, with their quality and the consistency that Bayern have [I don’t know].
‘And I still feel Liverpool are a stronger outfit so I put City probably around third or fourth choice for me.’
On United’s hopes in Europe this season, Ferdinand responded: ‘I don’t think Man United are going to be one of the teams I’d put as favourites.
‘I wouldn’t put them in that bracket. I think they’ll do very well getting out this group they’re in and they’ve had a fantastic start. I they’ll do well getting out of that and then just hope to improve from there.
‘But consistency is the key for this season for Man United improving on last season.’
The Red Devils welcome Leipzig to Old Trafford on Wednesday night and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will no doubt be hoping to replicate the display that stunned Paris Saint-Germain in their last Champions League clash.
Fabinho’s injury put a slight dampener on Liverpool’s evening but Jurgen Klopp revealed after the game that the Brazilian would have scans on his hamstring.
The Brazilian has been filling in as a makeshift centre-back and has impressed in the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.
‘Losing Fabinho is exactly the last thing we needed,’ Liverpool head coach Klopp said.
‘Fabinho felt his hamstring – he said he could have played on but couldn’t make any more sprints.
‘He has to have a scan.’
‘When somebody goes off with a muscle injury it’s pretty rare that the doctor calls me the next morning and says: “false alarm – all fine!”‘