Harry Maguire has put his impressive partnership with Eric Bailly at the heart of the Manchester United defence down to the competition for places in the squad.

The duo have started five of United's last seven games in all competition, keeping three clean sheets in the process, and they have complemented each other well.

Bailly's pace has been a good foil for Maguire's more aggressive approach and there's every chance they will get to continue their partnership against Liverpool at Anfield today.

The renaissance of Bailly, who is enjoying his most regular run in the side since his first season at the club, has added to the competition at centre back, with Victor Lindelof previously Maguire's regular partnership, while Axel Tuanzebe has also returned to fitness.

Maguire has hailed the form of Bailly but said the collective unit at United was key to the form the pair were showing together.

"With Eric, he’s back and playing really well since he’s been free of injury and we have formed a really good partnership. It’s a nice partnership that has blossomed over the last month," he said.

"It’s a great position to be in because we have three top centre backs, because there’s Victor (Lindelof) as well – and Axel Tuanzebe is pushing as well. That can only push you to perform even better."

Bailly and Maguire both have the ability to put their head where it hurts and there have been times during their partnership that they have shown a desire to do the dirty work involved in defending.

Maguire puts that down to his grounding in the Football League with Sheffield United and he insists the basics must come first, before any attempt to become better with the ball.

He added: "As a centre back the first thing you have to do is really love defending. I played in League One, so you’re learning about heading, blocking, tackling and the rest in a really tough environment.

Pogba is mobbed by United players

Manchester United secured a vital 1-0 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night to go top of the Premier League.

Paul Pogba scored the decisive goal in a hard-fought contest at Turf Moor, meaning United are now three points clear of Liverpool — who they face this weekend at Anfield.

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"That teaches you to be tough. The main thing isn’t about stepping out from the back and knocking long diagonal balls to people – it’s about keeping the ball out of your own net."

United head to Anfield today three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the league and in the build-up to the fixture there has been a common theme that the pressure is all on Jurgen Klopp's side.

But Maguire pointed out that playing any game for Manchester United bought with it a level of pressure, and it's that approach that has helped them string together an 11-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.

"Playing for Manchester United and playing with no pressure don’t come in the same sentence. We’re the biggest club in the world, and whatever anyone says on the outside, we go into every game not only wanting to win, but expected and expecting to win," said Maguire.

"That’s the mentality you have to have in this dressing room – winning at all costs. It’s something we have changed round, we’ve made that the environment we’re in now.

"We put bigger pressure on ourselves than anyone else can do – not just to win games, but to win things."

If United are to end this season with the biggest prize of all, a 21st title, then a win at Anfield today will be a significant staging post.

Maguire will seek to motivate the troops before kick-off, but insists the focus will be on the mentality of the side and making sure they go to Merseysde to win.

"We will have a long conversation before the kick off, but I’ll keep what I will be telling them to myself until then. But it’s not about any battle speech – it’s about your mentality," he said.

"Of course it will be tough to go there and get a result, it’s never going to be anything else. But we are confidence, we are Manchester United, and we know we can win any game whoever we play."