He may have been an apprentice at Manchester United as a teenager, but veteran pundit Eamon Dunphy declared himself a Liverpool fan on RTÉ 2fm’s Game On programme on Monday evening.

However, his surprise new allegiances didn’t stop him offering a harsh appraisal of the team.

"I am a Liverpool supporter," Dunphy told listeners.

"I decided to come out," he quipped.

Assessing the Anfield club’s campaign in their first full season under Jurgen Klopp, Dunphy said: "It’s been a desperate season for Liverpool supporters; seeing them blow a led at Bournemouth and fail so often to beat mediocre sides at home.

"I think when they have to break teams down they find it difficult.

"They’ve had some injury problems and Mane is a huge loss to them and (Adam) Lallana as well, and of course, they’ve no defence.

"If they get in the Champions League they’re going to have to buy big time. They’re really short of players."

Having tipped Liverpool as Premier League winners at one stage, Dunphy admitted to an error of judgement and predicted that launching a big challenge next season could prove difficult.  

"It hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would," he said.

"I thought they’d do very well this year, but they’re a long way behind Chelsea, and when Manchester City finish spending in the summer, there will be nothing left for anyone else."

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United came in for even stronger criticism.

"I liked him at first, but I think he’s a coward now, I don’t think he’s honest, and I’ve watched him very carefully" 

"He doesn’t have the quality you’d associate with Manchester Uunited and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic is another ironic tale in that he’s done really well on the face of it, statistically, he scored 27-28 goals and some of them were big goals early in the season.

"But I think he’s held (Marcus) Rashford back, he hasn’t got the pace to stretch teams. Ibrahimovic really has been a mixed blessing.

"I think Manchester United really have to spend an absolute fortune.

"They really don’t have much better defenders than Liverpool."

Dunphy was one of many analysts to question who suited Mourinho was to the Manchester United post before his tenure got under way.

"I always thought it was not a good marriage - Mourinho and Manchester United - and I still think that.

"Rashford apart, they don’t have any really seriously good young players.

"He has started doing something that he never did in my experience before in criticising his own players; (Luke) Shaw for one, (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan - I liked him at first, but I think he’s a coward now, I don’t think he’s honest, and I’ve watched him very carefully.

"I think Manchester United are not going to be champions of anything anytime soon.

"They may get to the Champions League via the Europa League success because there’s not much left in that.

"But they’ll get embarrassed in the Champions League by their own standards."