Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure believes that Liverpool pose more of a threat for the title at present than trophy holders Manchester United as David Moyes continues to settle in at Old Trafford.
United are currently eighth in the Premier League table after nine games and the side's win against Stoke at the weekend was far from convincing as they came back from 2-1 down to claim a 3-2 victory.
They are just two points behind City who are also adjusting to life with a new manager but Toure believes that the change for United will be harder without legendary figure Sir Alex Ferguson in the dugout.
"United will find it hard to defend the title since they have a new manager and are really struggling," he told the Sun.
"Liverpool are a big threat at the moment because they have a strong squad and their strikers -- Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge -- are scoring goals at will."
Liverpool's start to the season has been in vast contract to their last campaign with the side now starting to look a serious competitor for a top four finish.
With no European football to worry about they have been afforded the luxury of concentrating solely on improving their league position while other sides work on rotating their first team for Champions League and Europa League games.
And while Moyes has had a good run in the Champions League group stages so far the United manager appears to be still finding his feet in the league, having suffered three losses, including one to Liverpool, in his opening nine league games as manager.
Ferguson has made a comeback to his old stomping ground on a few occasions and the Scot admitted that Moyes needs to bring silverware to the club in order to keep the United faithful happy.
"The thing about coming to a club like United is you can never get away from the expectation and I learned about that quickly," he said. "I spent a lot of stupid time looking at history, getting out early results from the 10 previous seasons and it was doing me no good, I was getting nowhere with that.
"I learned you had to look at your own situation.
"Winning a trophy at any time is important at this club."