Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville passionately disagreed over who would finish higher in the table between Liverpool and Manchester United in their predictions for the new Premier League season.
The Sky Sports pundits made their early season picks on the first Monday Night Football of the campaign, as the pair agreed that Manchester City would win the top-flight with Chelsea finishing as runners-up.
Neville and Carragher then backed their respective former teams to finish third, with the former claiming the United have the better squad going into the season.
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have made their Premier League pre-season predictions
Neville claims Manchester United have a better squad than Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool (right)
NEVILLE AND CARRAGHER’S PICKS
NEVILLE: Manchester City
CARRA: Manchester City
TOP FOUR (IN ORDER)
NEVILLE: Chelsea, United, Liverpool
CARRA: Chelsea, Liverpool, United
CARRA: Manchester United
BEST YOUNG PLAYER
NEVILLE: Kai Havertz (Chelsea)
CARRA: Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
ONE TO WATCH
NEVILLE: Raphael Varane (Man United)
CARRA: Jadon Sancho (Man United)
‘I think United have the better squad,’ Neville said.
‘Liverpool have the better first 11 but Liverpool with a couple of injuries they have that drop in level. Manchester United haven’t had a drop in level in any position.
‘Maybe with (Harry) Maguire but (Raphael) Varane’s in there now. If (Mason) Greenwood’s not playing it’s (Anthony) Martial, (Edinson) Cavani, loads in players in each position. In midfield, there’s (Paul) Pogba, (Bruno) Fernandes, (Donny) Van de Beek.
‘You could lose two players and they’d still be fine. If Maguire and Varane get injured there’s (Eric) Bailly and (Victor) Lindelof. United’s squad is better than Liverpool’s.’
Carragher, meanwhile, insisted that Liverpool would finish third as Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is a better manager than his United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
‘The managers of the teams, they all have experience of winning Champions League those three (Pep Guardiola, Klopp and Thomas Tuchel). Managers make a huge difference. Liverpool have a better team and manager.
‘I think Liverpool are going under the radar with a lot of people forgetting how good they were for the last few years. Now they’re back and Salah and Mane have had a fresh summer.’
Carragher continued to wind up Neville again by claiming that Manchester United would end up as the season’s biggest underachievers – as the former Liverpool defender believes the Red Devils are capable of winning the title – but will not.
He said: ‘I actually think Manchester United have a squad capable of really challenging and pushing for the title. You think they can finish fourth or third and be a better team?’
Carragher disagreed, claiming that Liverpool have the better manager out of the two clubs
‘It’s how they finish third,’ Neville responded. ‘Twenty points behind, it doesn’t matter but if they’re third and six points behind that’s progress.’
The pair did agree, however, that Guardiola’s City would end up as champions with Carragher hinting that it could be a one-horse race should the reigning champions complete a deal for Harry Kane before next week’s transfer deadline.
‘Man City are Man City,’ Carragher said. ‘Liverpool are the team that broke their spell up once in the last four of five years. It will take a lot for them to do it again, but it took them a lot to do it last time.
‘They (City) had unbelievable consistency, right now they’re on the back of a victory. You’re thinking what they could do next week. With Harry Kane they’re very difficult to stop. If they don’t get it, it’s much more tough as you’ve got Chelsea in there.
Both pundits agreed that Manchester City will retain their Premier League crown this season
‘They didn’t have (Sergio) Aguero last season. In some ways it was Pep’s perfect way of playing, having a team of midfielders. They didn’t have consistent strikers but Pep will want a top quality centre forward in that team.’
Neville added: ‘You’ve got to go with Man City with what they’ve done the in the last few years. Chelsea and Manchester United have something to prove, Liverpool have to get back up to the level they were at.
‘City have been at the highest level, there’s a question of Aguero going and not being replaced. But they have lots of 10s, 15s, 17s that could contribute to getting goals.’
In the individual predictions for the season, Carragher surprisingly picked Arsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe as the breakout youngster to watch in the forthcoming campaign.
Carragher predicted Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe (right) will be the league’s best young player
Speaking about the 21-year-old, Carragher said: ‘I’m a massive fan, I’ve loved watching him, even though Arsenal made such a poor start.
‘He was arguably the best player on the pitch at Brentford and you can see some of his touches on Sunday, the way he moves with the ball. Not even the top players can receive the ball on the back foot on both sides. I’m a huge fan.’
Neville, meanwhile, selected Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz as the young player to look out for, with the German preparing for his second season at Stamford Bridge after his £89million move last year.
Neville, meanwhile, selected Kai Havertz (right) as the young player to watch this season
‘He has gone up a level,’ Neville said about Havertz. ‘But I think he’s in third gear but can go up to fourth and fifth and be a great player.
‘I think he’ll get stronger and more powerful in two years’ time. I remember what Chelsea said with Eden Hazard and that’s what Havertz will do.’
And for Neville’s overall ‘One to Watch’ selection – a category in which he has picked Paul Pogba for the last three seasons – the former Manchester United defender selected Raphael Varane who has just completed a £38.5m deal from Real Madrid.
Neville picked Raphael Varane (left) as ‘One To Watch’ – Carragher picked Jadon Sancho (right)
‘I want to see how well Varane does for Man Utd,’ said Neville. ‘They are intrigued to see how a great player, a World Cup winner, does in this side. I think it gives them a massive confidence.
‘I do think there’s an intrigue of seeing one of the players in the best centre-back pairing in the world alongside Ramos and now see him with Harry Maguire.’
Carragher also picked a Manchester United player for that position, though opted for ‘superstar’ Jadon Sancho, a £73m signing from Borussia Dortmund earlier this summer.