Kobbie Mainoo would start for Liverpool: Man Utd-Reds combined XI features four Ten Hag players

Jason Soutar

Liverpool travel to Manchester United on Sunday after falling behind Arsenal in the Premier League. The title race is absolutely mental, but not as mental as Erik ten Hag’s side having as many as four players in a combined XI with the Reds. Four? That’s insane.

 

GK: Andre Onana (Manchester United)
No Alisson means Red Devls No. 1 Andre Onana gets in our combined XI.

The Cameroonian has actually been solid this season. That is if we only concentrate on his domestic performances and not the shambles in the Champions League. He has made more saves than most and more saves than any Manchester United goalkeeper should be making.

READ MORE: Who is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League in 2023/24?

 

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United)
We are not proud of this one but Trent Alexander-Arnold’s absence makes this position the weakest link in this XI. In truth, we would be content with any of Joe Gomez, Diogo Dalot, Conor Bradley or Aaron Wan-Bissaka. We gave AWB the edge and are not entirely sure why.

Manchester United two for two to kick things off, by the way. Who’d have thought it? Not me.

 

CB: Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool)
Normality resumes with Ibrahima Konate starting in centre-back. He is the first of seven Liverpool players in this combined XI.

The anime-loving Frenchman is a monster at the back. His strength and pace make for a dangerous combination and if not for injuries, he would be held in much higher regard. He is as good as William Saliba but his development has been hindered over the last two years.

 

CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
The greatest defender in Premier League history in the eyes of many people, Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk is another monstrous centre-back and has been for bloody ages now. The most important signing Jurgen Klopp has ever made.

READ MORE: Saliba the next Van Dijk? Arsenal team-mate one of five stars who can emulate Premier League icons

 

LB: Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
Another captain but for his national team, the Scottish left-back has been another crucial Klopp signing and is probably the best value-for-money acquisition made by the German.

Andy Robertson came off the bench against Sheffield United to rally his team-mates to a crucial win after a shock Blades equaliser. Everything the Reds did in the last half an hour on Thursday came through the former Dundee United man. He has to start at Old Trafford.

 

CM: Alexis Mac Allister (Liverpool)
Speaking of Thursday night’s 3-1 victory, Alexis Mac Allister played his part, didn’t he? The World Cup winner scored an absolute belter to put Liverpool back in front after Conor Bradley’s own goal.

He has been in silly form since the turn of the year and is now in the frame to be named PFA Player of the Year. £35m as well. Wow, wow, wow. What a player. “Absolutely insane” as Klopp described him after the Sheff United win.

READ MORE: Who will win the PFA Footballer of the Year in 2023/24?

 

CM: Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United)
We do not want to be called reactionary or accused of buying into the Kobbie Mainoo hype, but he is bloody fantastic and is quickly proving that he can become the main man at Manchester United. His emergence is one of five reasons Sir Jim Ratcliffe should stick with Erik ten Hag.

Expected to go to Euro 2024 with England, Mainoo did not become a regular in the United team until December thanks to an ankle injury and my word did they miss him without any of us realising. The future looks bright with him and Alejandro Garnacho – who, spoiler alert, does not make the cut…

Liverpool fans weren't happy with Kobbie Mainoo being called up ahead of Harvey Elliott.

 

AM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
You might not like Bruno Fernandes, but he is a terrific footballer. Irritating. But terrific.

They might not be everything, but he has the stats to back it up.

 

RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The nonsense that is including Manchester United players in a combined XI is over with Liverpool’s strongest front three leading the way for us. No Red Devils attacker would start for Klopp’s side. Especially not over Mo Salah.

The Egyptian is probably the best winger Our League has ever seen. He is the most ruthless, that is for sure. Even if he does miss plenty of chances before eventually scoring one, which is often backed up by another, and then another…

 

LW: Luis Diaz (Liverpool)
Garnacho has been in smashing form in a dysfunctional Red Devils team but is not better than Luis Diaz. That is the unfortunate truth from a United perspective. We gave you Wan-Bissaka so don’t get too upset.

 

ST: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
Rasmus Hojlund vs Darwin Nunez is an interesting debate. Both are quite different but have faced similar adversity since moving to England for a lot of money. While the former is probably more important to United than Nunez is to Liverpool, that comes down to how reliant Ten Hag is on the Dane being a focal point in his team. Klopp is simply a better manager and brings the best out of Darwin while being able to survive without him.

Nunez’s midweek goal came off his backside and while it came from an almighty f**k-up from Ante Grbic, it epitomises everything great about the Uruguayan, who is enjoying a solid second season at Anfield, showing the consistency that eluded him last year.