Liverpool v Man Utd – Who makes it into our combined XI from the Premier League’s top two?
First meets second in the Premier League on Sunday
Manchester United are top of the Premier League table beyond the opening weeks of the season for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.
Such has been the change in United’s fortunes during those eight years, that their table-topping return has come a season after Liverpool finally ended their 30-year league title drought.
With the pair sitting first and second in the league table respectively, there’s much more meaning on the heavyweight bitter rivalry again this season as they meet at Anfield on Sunday.
Ahead of the clash, we’ve put together our pick of the best XI of players from both sides, with the only criteria to note being they have to be fit and available to play this weekend, ruling out the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Diogo Jota.
GK – Alisson
It’s a much tougher decision to pick Liverpool’s number one over United’s this season, but the Brazilian just edges it due to his irreplaceable role in the side, as seen when he’s been missing in games this season.
Alisson has notched four clean sheets so far this season, one fewer than David de Gea, but he’s conceded nine fewer goals, while stopping a penalty too. His big money move from Roma two seasons ago has proved to be worth every penny.
RB – Trent Alexander-Arnold
While Aaron Wan-Bissaka may be having a solid season of his own, scoring his first goal of his Premier League career, Trent Alexander-Arnold gets the nod in our side.
At just 22 years of age, Trent has made the RB slot at Liverpool his own, and has revolutionised the position, being the benchmark for those in that role across the world with his attacking play and cross field passing ability.
CB – Harry Maguire
The Manchester United captain is quietly going about his business this season, putting in some impressive performances in an ever-changing Red Devils defence.
Featuring in all 17 league matches this season, he’s been a rock in the heart of the Manchester United defence which has led them back to the top of the table, providing a threat in attack too with his aerial ability.
CB – Fabinho
With no Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez, Fabinho has slotted into the centre back role superbly this season, coping with whichever partner Jurgen Klopp decides to put him with.
In his career so far, he’s played RB, CDM, CM and now CB, so his versatility is an asset to any team, while his defensive nous is unrivalled in Liverpool’s current back four.
LB – Andrew Robertson
With Alex Telles failing to make the United LB role his own, and Luke Shaw failing to push on with his career, neither of Manchester United’s options come close to Robertson.
Scotland’s captain has become a world class defender, with a natural instinct to go forward too. He’s not only essential at the back, but his crossing ability is among the best in the Premier League too with five assists to his name so far this season.
CM – Bruno Fernandes
There can be absolutely no arguments with this inclusion, as in the 31 Premier League matches the Portuguese midfielder has played since his arrival last January, he’s contributed to 33 United goals.
That’s 19 goals and 14 assists from the heart of midfield, with even more in other competitions too, and this season, he’s got 11 goals and seven assists in 17 games. A no-brainer, walks straight into the side.
CM – Jordan Henderson
Liverpool’s Captain and last season’s FWA Footballer of the Year steps into this slot with ease, as the 30-year-old provides defensive cover at the back, while also having an eye for a pass going forward.
Not only that, but his energy throughout the 90 minutes, with constant pressing and harrying of the opposition helps to break up attacks, with some of Liverpool’s worst results coming when Henderson isn’t anchoring the midfield.
CM – Thiago Alcantara
After coming into form in the last couple of weeks, Paul Pogba could feel a little aggrieved to miss out here, but when Thiago is fit and firing, he’s among the best midfielders in world football.
The Spaniard has a sensational range of passing, and although he’s only managed four Premier League appearances this season, on debut against Chelsea, he broke the record for most passes completed in 45 minutes, managing 75. There’s much more to come from him.
RW – Mohamed Salah
A two-time Golden Boot winner with 88 goals and 32 assists in 137 Premier League appearances. Since his move from Roma, Salah has been a marked improvement of the player we saw in his short time at Chelsea.
The winger leads the way for this season’s Golden Boot too so far, with 13 goals from 16 appearances. The Egyptian is the third-quickest player to net 100 goals for Liverpool, and there’s still plenty more left in the tank.
LW – Sadio Mane
Arguably the best left winger in the Premier League, and with Manchester United’s contender making our team elsewhere, adding Mane in here was one of the easiest decisions we had.
Himself a Golden Boot winner, his six goals and two assists so far this season is a low return for the Senegalese winger, but his electrifying pace and persistent threat can’t be overlooked. His 69 goals in the Premier League for Liverpool so far is impressive, seven more than Liverpool’s front man Roberto Firmino.
ST – Marcus Rashford
While Firmino may be a much better all-round team player for this side, it’s Marcus Rashford that we’re putting up front, with the 23-year-old maturing on and off the pitch this season.
So far for United, he’s scored 51 times and assisted 26 more in 159 appearances, despite playing on the wing for much of his career. His finishing ability is second-to-none, and we think with Salah and Mane alongside, with the midfield behind, he’d bag a shedload of goals.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.