“If you put the two teams on a graph, Manchester United are going in one direction and Liverpool have stagnated,” Rio Ferdinand told the BBC.
“I wouldn’t say Liverpool are in decline, but other teams are catching them up and maybe going beyond them.
“If I’m a player, say Jude Bellingham or Declan Rice – two of the most in-demand English midfielders that may get moves this summer – and someone says, ‘Manchester United or Liverpool, where are you going?’, forget my Manchester United ties, I have to go with United right now.
“The way the team looks, the way the squad is shaping up, the way the managers are navigating their teams’ fortunes and who I see being more successful in the upcoming future – I really would be sitting on the side of United.”
The two English giants are due to face each other on Sunday at Anfield with United holding a 10-point advantage over Liverpool heading into the contest.