Combined Liverpool/Manchester United XI
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
David de Gea is arguably the greatest goalkeeper in the world at the moment and is a certainty or this combined XI. The Spaniard is on top form, being ever present for the Red Devils this season and keeping a clean sheet in all but one of his matches in the Premier League. Simon Mignolet has played six of Liverpool’s seven Premier League games so far this campaign and has kept just one clean sheet in that period, against Crystal Palace. So the man in form between the sticks and straight onto this XI is David de Gea
Right Back – Antonio Valencia
The 32 year old Ecuadorian has been magnificent for Manchester United so far this campaign. He has recently had to fight Matteo Darmian for the place on the starting XI but has now made himself one of the first names on Mourinho’s teamsheet. He has been superb defending, his tackling being crucial to United’s tremendous clean sheet record this season, and going forward, his blistering pace and pinpoint crosses have helped the Red Devils score so many times this season. Valencia has been on fire, like most of the Manchester United team, so goes right into this XI.
Centre Back – Joel Matip
Liverpool’s defence has been highly criticised this season so far, after keeping only two clean sheets in the Premier League so far. However, Joel Matip has been essential for the Reds, keeping attacks out as much as possible and being the main piece of the back four. The Cameroonian has won 43 duels so far, and has been chipping in with long balls to the attack of Salah, Mané and Firmino. He hasn’t made any mistakes leading to goals and has a 69% tackle success this season. So although Liverpool’s defence has been shaky, Matip has been proving himself still and earns a place in this XI.
Centre Back – Eric Bailly
The young centre back has been developing himself while at Old Trafford, still at the youthful age of 23. Set to return from a short spell out, Bailly will relish the Anfield experience. Of his six league games this season, he has five clean sheets to his name. His physicality, tackling and sheer presence has been superb for Manchester United. He is now a regular on the starting XI, alongside either Jones or Smalling, both of whom he has a tremendous partnership with. It’s said that defences win titles, and if United are lifting the trophy in May, Bailly will be hugely to thank.
Right Midfield – Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Playing a 3-4-3, on the right of midfield has to go Mkhitaryan. Simply due to his contribution attacking. The Armenian has five goals and six assists already. He is already only one assist fewer than Philippe Coutinho’s best ever tally for assists in a season. He is also scoring for United in Europe as well as domestically. He was on top form last season and only looks to have gotten better. He is arguably the best in his position in the league, and so goes right into the combined XI.
Central Defensive Midfield – Paul Pogba
Although injured and looking to miss the match on Saturday, the Frenchman in the games he has played has been incredible. In the league, he is averaging a goal every other game, averages 77 passes per match and has a 100% tackle success rating. So he does his bits all over the pitch. That’s why Mourinho broke the record last season. He’s found himself working brilliantly alongside Matic, who has also been superb in midfield. However Pogba has grabbed every opportunity he can, so earns a spot in the combined XI.
Central Attacking Midfield – Philippe Coutinho
The Brazilian started late for Liverpool this season amid rumours of him packing his bags for Catalonia. However, he goes straight into the XI as in his three appearances, he has two goals and an assist. He has been putting in performances beyond his skin, also like Pogba has 100% tackling success, averages 0.67 goals a game, and his two goals have been phenomenal. So Coutinho, straight into the XI, and one Mourinho will be concerned about on Saturday.
Left Midfield – Anthony Martial
The media have criticised the France manager, Didier Deschamps for leaving Martial out of the French National Team, and it’s clear to see why. The young wide man was named as the Red Devils’ Player of the Month for September and has three goals and two assists in the league to his name, with all of his goals coming from the bench. Thierry Henry has also praised him recently, saying Martial is a much better player than he was at that age. So Anthony Martial goes straight into the combined XI.
Left Wing – Sadio Mané
The Senegalese will make his 100th Premier League appearance on Saturday, and will be looking for his fourth of the season. His combination with Salah and Firmino has really shone the Premier League. He has been magnificent, when he isn’t scoring, he’s making runs, beating defenders and doing what is required of a Liverpool attacker. He is averaging over a goal every other game and it is clear to see Liverpool missed him during his suspension, so out wide in the combined XI is definitely Sadio Mané.
Right Wing – Mohammed Salah
With four goals and an assist already, the Egyptian is hot from sending his country to the World Cup and will be a nightmare for any Manchester United defender. He is an expert at cutting inside, working the ball onto his left and most importantly, finding the net. He is part of one of the most feared attacks in the league, and has been proving himself a handful individually, so goes right into this XI.
Striker – Romelu Lukaku
What more needs to be said? The league’s top scorer, he has pace, power, magic in his feet, can score with his head. He has been on fire for the Old Trafford outlet and will no doubt be the man to watch for Jurgen Klopp. This is his kind of game and he will be sure to grab it by the scruff of the neck. Lukaku, right into the XI.