It’s always a massive tie when Liverpool and Manchester United meet. Expect nothing else when the two big rivals from England clash in the Premier League game on Monday night.
Here is who makes our combined eleven based on form (injured players do not qualify):
Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)
Liverpool’s goalkeeper situation is delicate right now with Loris Karius only returning to the thick of things recently. The German didn’t convince in his two Premier League appearance, although the sample size is obviously too little to judge. Even so, it would take significant and consistent performances for any goalkeeper to displace David de Gea from any line-up.
The Spaniard has established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the world and is an undisputed starter for club and country. Like Karius, De Gea also endured a shaky start to life in the Premier League, which should put things in perspective for some of the critics.
Right Back: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
The makeshift right-back has been impressive for United under Jose Mourinho, and his excellent form continued for the national side during the international break. The 31-year-old produced a match-winning performance against Chile, getting a goal and an assist in the 3-0 win. Nathaniel Clyne has also fared decently, but his positioning has come under scrutiny for a couple of goals Liverpool have conceded.
Centre Backs: Eric Bailly and Daley Blind (Manchester United)
The centre-back pairing would comprise both of United’s centre-backs. In the absence of Chris Smalling, Daley Blind took up the centre-back position and did excluding the disastrous shift against Manchester City.
Eric Bailly has accustomed well to life in the Premier League and hasn’t let his price tag weigh him down. The two have formed a good understanding at the back, and make our combined eleven. Liverpool still need to strengthen their back-line, and the performances so far haven’t exactly been commanding enough.
Left Back: James Milner (Liverpool)
Finishing the back-line is another makeshift full-back, James Milner. The former City winger was supposed to be a square peg in a round hole but has performed admirably in the left-back role. Since taking over from Alberto Moreno, Milner hasn’t allowed the left-back to come into the fray to earn his spot back. With Luke Shaw struggling with injury, the choice is easier, but even without it, Milner has earned his place.
Centre Midfield: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Even though Jordan Henderson has done well for Liverpool this season, the sheer talent of Paul Pogba makes this a relatively obvious choice. Pogba’s second coming at United hasn’t been stellar so far, but he looks better and better with every performance.
Centre Midfield: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
The Liverpool captain has performed particularly well this season, playing a deeper role. Many Liverpool fans were not happy with his appointment as captain, but the former Sunderland midfielder has done all the talking from the pitch and is doing a potent job in the heart of the field. His good performances for Liverpool also led Gareth Southgate to appoint him as the stand-in captain in Wayne Rooney’s absence.
Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
It’s hard to exclude any of the Liverpool attackers from the line-up on current form, and leaving out just Adam Lallana also felt a bit harsh.
The Liverpool attacking trio has done fantastically so far. They compliment each other beautifully. Mane has added much-needed pace to the side and has adjusted seamlessly to Klopp’s side. Coutinho is playing with more maturity and especially caught the eye playing in the midfield against Swansea. Firmino’s performances are often subtle, but he has arguably been the player of the season for Liverpool. Even without notching a goal or an assist, Firmino regularly involves himself in all the attacking plays. He makes up for his lack of pace with intelligence and vision.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, (Manchester United)
With Sturridge not very involved this season, this choice was only difficult because Marcus Rashford deserves a shot too. However, with Zlatan in the same ranks, it makes things considerably difficult for the teenager. The Swedish striker’s goals have recently dried up, but he has the raw ability to create a goal out of absolutely nothing. He obviously had to make the line-up.