Read our team and then have your say on who should make a combined Man United and Liverpool XI
Manchester United host Liverpool in a hotly-anticipated Premier League derby on Sunday.
The two fierce rivals will be going toe-to-toe in the most-watched club game on the planet, with both sides eager to claim the bragging rights and land a blow on the other’s hopes for the rest of the season.
Yet the two teams go into the game in vastly different runs of form, with Liverpool having not lost all season and their Old Trafford rivals having not won in their last three Premier League matches.
As always in the build-up to matches like this, pundits have been offering their combined XIs, made up of players from both sides.
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have both had their say – now here’s Mirror Football’s combined team.
Agree with us? Fill out the form below to choose your own team and then have your say in the comments.
Whilst David de Gea has returned to form this season, Alisson has become one of the best goalkeepers since joining Liverpool from Roma in 2018. His consistency, alongside his ability to deliver in big moments, means he gets the nod over his Man United counterpart.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has arguably revolutionised the idea of what a right-back needs to contribute to a team, with his creativity and attacking talent rightly lavished. His ability means that it’s an easy decision to choose him over United rival Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who may be solid defensively, but lacks the attacking output of Alexander-Arnold.
There cannot be many defenders to have enjoyed as dominant seasons as Virgil van Dijk produced to help Liverpool to the title in 2019/20. The fact the towering Dutchman has picked up where he left off after the serious knee injury he suffered last season, when many others would take time to feel their way back into form, is another example of his immense quality. One of the best in the world.
Ordinarily, it would be Raphael Varane who would play alongside Van Dijk in defence, but the decorated Frenchman is currently out with injury. So Harry Maguire takes his place. Whilst the England international is prone to an error or two, and needs the right player next to him to be at his best, he would be a good partner for Van Dijk.
Whilst Luke Shaw enjoyed a sterling 2020/21 season and Euro 2020, he is yet to hit the same heights this season. In comparison, Liverpool’s Andy Robertson is Mr Consistent, and his ability to constantly deliver both in defence and attack means he gets the nod.
When it comes to defensive midfielders, there’s really no contest between Fabinho and his Man United counterparts. The Brazilian is one of the best in the world, and his footballing intelligence is proven by how reliable he is at centre-back as well as in his natural holding role.
In this team, Jordan Henderson would perhaps play a little deeper than he currently does alongside Fabinho, the Brazilian’s presence would still allow him to push forward a little. Whilst the likes of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba may sometimes find the back of the net or create assists more often than the Liverpool captain, Henderson is picked due to both his consistency and his inspirational leadership skills.
Mo Salah has started this season in superb form, and there’s a very legitimate debate to be had about whether he is currently the best footballer in the world. He has had his own personal goal of the month competition this season and is comfortably the most in-form attacker in the Premier League.
Whilst Bruno Fernandes is perhaps going through his quietest spell as a Man United player, the Portuguese midfielder is still a creative force. Roberto Firmino is currently enjoying a good run of form, but Fernandes’ longer-term performances, along with the fact he is a more natural attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation, gives him the edge.
By his own high standards, Sadio Mane had a relatively quiet 2020/21, but he has started this season back in form. He has linked up superbly with Salah so far in this campaign and has five goals in eight Premier League matches. His performances so far this season get him in the side alone, but he is also helped by a lack of competition, with Jadon Sancho yet to hit form at Manchester United and Paul Pogba inconsistent when playing on the left wing.
There is a tactical argument that Cristiano Ronaldo ’s lack of pressing means he needs teams specifically set up to cater for the way he plays. Thankfully this is a theoretical team on paper, rather than one we’re putting together to play an actual game of football. For that reason, Ronaldo’s record, and his ability to win games single-handedly with his goals, means that he is a shoo-in for this side.