In Jurgen Klopp's third full season as Liverpool manager he took them to the Champions League title and to a 97-point Premier League season that somehow only yielded second place.

This is mentioned because the slow-burn nature of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United tenure is often compared with the progress Klopp made at Anfield, gradually putting his own stamp on the squad until he finally had lift-off.

That third season was the start and the fourth campaign produced the title. It was time for the progress to actually mean something and that is where Solskjaer is now at with United.

But at the moment, the similarities are more with Klopp's second season than his third, although these are easy days. When Liverpool went from fourth in 2017/18 to second a year later, adding 22 points to their tally, they scored five more goals but conceded 16 less. It was clear where the improvement came from.

Virgil van Dijk and Alisson were transformative signings, but the approach changed as well. Klopp's Liverpool went from a team often at the centre of thrilling, unhinged end-to-end contests to one that exerted total control over their opponents. In an instant, they went from five defeats in a season to just four in the next two combined.

Right now, United are more the former than the latter. You can't take your eyes off their games, but that's not always a good thing. One clean sheet in their last 20 games is a dreadful record and as dangerous as they look going forward, they look just as vulnerable defensively.

That's what summed Liverpool up in Klopp's season. They reached the Champions League final despite conceding six goals across two legs in the semi-final against Roma, they lost 5-0 and 4-1 in the Premier League, drew 3-3 with Watford and Arsenal. It was chaos, but entertaining for the neutrals.

But to take the next step Liverpool changed and now United must do the same. The argument that Solskjaer's United and Klopp's Liverpool have followed similar trajectories is probably a fair one, but this is the season when we will find out.

Liverpool certainly benefitted from those two transformative signings, but this has been a big summer for United too. Raphael Varane should have completed the defensive rebuild, Jadon Sancho has long been Solskjaer's top target and Cristiano Ronaldo is, well, Cristiano Ronaldo.

United could certainly have done with a holding midfielder, but even title-winning sides rarely have 11 perfect pieces of the jigsaw. It is up to the manager's to find a way to cover whatever cracks may remain.

Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his return to Manchester United.

Manchester United enjoyed a sensational transfer window, securing the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now under pressure to deliver silverware after a patchy start to the season. United face some big games after the international break.

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United won't want to be compared to the Liverpool side that entertained but ultimately won nothing. They will want to be mentioned in the same breath as the side who marched relentlessly to big trophies in the seasons that followed and have started so impressively again this term.

The big difference, of course, is that Liverpool fans pretty much knew they were on to a winner with Klopp, who had the CV to vouch for his credentials. Solskjaer doesn't have that and is still having to win over critics.

The pulsating victory against Atalanta on Wednesday was a step in the right direction, but it was another victory that was filled under chaotic rather than controlled.

To build on that and beat Liverpool they will have to improve again. They need a defining result to edge themselves firmly back into the picture in the terms of the title race.