Combined XI: Liverpool v Manchester United; Who would be in your team?


.Manchester United and Liverpool go head to head at Anfield on Monday night in the Premier League, which should be an exciting game of football. The past fortnight has been a boring one with the international break in action, with another next month, which will be the final one until March next year. United and Liverpool have a lot to win from this match, but an awful lot to lose too. Having two teams who are blessed with talent, we at felt that putting a combined XI together would be of benefit. Here are the selections of Paul Bienkowski, Liam Black and Aaron Moniz.

Paul Bienkowski: Both Manchester United and Liverpool have some great players, imagine what a side containing only players from the two sides would bring! Liverpool have a great attacking side currently and they can score goals for fun. The fact they have won their last five matches in all competition, albeit domestic as they are not in a European competition this season, suggests they have a lot of talent to field.

Obviously, I feel David De Gea is a better option in goal, he does pick himself and is one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. In defence, I would pick a three-man defence with  Joel Matip, Eric Bailly and Daley Blind, all based on current form. I am sure this is something you will see consistently within this article. Luke Shaw has been on the sidelines for a few weeks and Antonio Valencia would not fit in the team at this moment in time.

In midfield, a four-man system will be the best which will see both Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera partner in central midfield with Sadio Mane on the right and Anthony Martial on the left. Obviously, this misses out the likes of Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Manchester United, but at the end of the day this is the best team between two clubs and Mata over Mane would not work. A three-man attack will consist of Philippe Coutinho behind both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Roberto Firmino.


Liam Black: Manchester United and Liverpool both have some very talented attacking individuals on their sides but aren’t exactly blessed at the back, so for that reason, my combined XI will be very attack based as I’ll be using the 3-4-1-2 formation.

In net there was only ever going to be one man; David De Gea, arguably the best ‘keeper in the world, Simon Mignolet doesn’t even come close. For my back three, I’ve chosen Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, and Joel Matip. Both Bailly and Matip have settled into the Premier League very quickly and have taken up the role of the dominating centre-back for their respective sides, whilst I’ve also included Blind to add some balance to the defence, with his intelligence and world-class passing ability.

Moving up into midfield I’ve decided to include Paul Pogba, obviously. Next to him there’s a spot for Ander Herrera, who I think is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League, he looks good whenever selected for United and his energy and eye for goal give him the edge over the likes of Jordan Henderson and Emre Can. On the wings I’ve selected Anthony Martial and Saido Mane, Martial is undoubtedly one of the best young players in the world, and after impressing for United last season he must find his way into this XI. Mane is a quick and direct player, who I’ve been a fan of since his Southampton days, he’s a player I would’ve loved to have seen Jose Mourinho move for this summer. Playing just behind the strikers is Roberto Firmino who is really showing his quality for Liverpool so far this season, and warrens his selection over the likes of Wayne Rooney and Philippe Coutinho.

Up top, I’ve got Zlatan Ibrahimović, who along with De Gea and Pogba picks himself as one of the only truly world-class players in the squad. He’ll be playing alongside Daniel Sturridge. A controversial selection due to his injury record, but when he’s fully fit and on form, he is one of the best strikers in the Premier League, you only have to look back at the lethal ‘SAS’ partnership he formed with Luis Suarez a few seasons ago.

Aaron Moniz: Manchester United playing Liverpool excites me greatly because I respect Liverpool’s for the first time in a while. It’s hard not to have respect for the job Jurgen Klopp is doing at the moment. Liverpool looks slightly better (three points better, to be precise) at the moment and United needs to even the tides at Juanfield on Monday.

For once, though, both teams are playing proper football. It has probably been around seven years since that was the case, going back to 2009 when United won the league with Liverpool in second. Moyes’ season was a disaster, while Louis van Gaal destroyed Brendan Rogers with an aggregate score of 8-2 over three games.

In goal, David De Gea picks himself, though I think Loris Karius will prove an astute buy over time. To compensate for defensive deficiencies on paper, I’ve gone for a very attacking formation to dominate the ball and outscore opposition. Therefore, the pacey Bailly and tidy Matip will be important alongside Daley Blind, the best defender from either side.

As far as Liverpool attacking talent goes, I was disappointed to have to leave Adam Lallana out, but I’ve included Sadio Mane. I was quite upset when both joined Liverpool. Herrera, Pogba, Coutinho and Firmino is the ultimate midfield going forward, and with Ibrahimovic as the target man, Martial providing the x-factor and the aforementioned Mane running the channels, this side would easily score four goals in most games.

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