As recently as 2013, this was no achievement for the club, more a minimum expectation as the unrelenting flow of success seemed eternal.
However, since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the tap has been closed off, with just a handful of trophies to show for eight years of poor appointments, manic spending and general unrest at the club.
Tonight’s game offers a chance to sit at the summit, and perhaps launch their first title charge in years, but when was the last time they were top?
Rewind three and a half years to the start of the 2017/18 campaign. Manchester United had just completed the signings of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof for an estimated combined fee of £150 million as Jose Mourinho looked to build on the previous season’s trophy-laden campaign.
The early signs were promising as they started the season with two 4-0 victories, at home to West Ham and away to Swansea City, before following them up with a 2-0 win over Leicester City to put them top of the league by September.
However, a 2-2 draw with Stoke City allowed Manchester City to capitalise, and the rest is history. City were relentless and subdued United to second place for the entirety of the season, while they themselves went on to claim 100 points.
A win tonight would see United reclaim their once rightful place in first and would set up a gripping encounter at Anfield in just a few days as the pressure intensifies.