Liverpool 5-6 Man Utd: De Gea, Varane, Robertson snubbed as Trent gets in combined XI
Liverpool host Man Utd in the Premier League on Sunday. The Reds need to win to maintain their top-four push and the Red Devils need a win to maintain their unexpected title push. This has draw written all over it, doesn’t it?
Not including injured players such as Thiago and Luis Diaz, here is our combined XI of the two sides.
GK: Alisson (Liverpool)
Quite a simple one, this. Alisson has been better than David de Gea for quite a while now. Probably Liverpool’s best player this season, definitely the Premier League’s best goalkeeper this season.
Credit to De Gea, however, who is having a solid 2022-23. He still needs to be replaced in the summer, though.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
The England right-back really divides opinion. Yes, he isn’t the best defensively, but his ability going forward is world class. Alexander-Arnold is better than Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot. There is no debate here. If you disagree, I will not hear you out. Sorry.
CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Van Dijk has been one of the best defenders in the world for the last five years. He has shown that he is human with some of his performances this season. He tore his ACL not that long ago and is 31 years of age. Give him a break.
Football fans are brutal, however, and the greater the player is, the more criticism they receive when they show any sign of weakness.
CB: Lisandro Martinez (Man Utd)
Martinez, not Ibrahima Konate or Raphael Varane make my team. Although the latter is a four-time Champions League winner, I have been more impressed with his centre-back partner since his big-money move from Ajax last summer.
LB: Luke Shaw (Man Utd)
Andy Robertson has not been himself for quite a while now, while Shaw has arguably been the best left-back in the Premier League this season. Although Liverpool fans might disagree, this is an easy decision.
DM: Casemiro (Man Utd)
Like Robertson, Fabinho has been quite s**t this season. He can’t lace Casemiro’s boots right now. The Man Utd midfielder walks into this team as the best player.
READ MORE: Man Utd have a ‘Casemiro problem’ which could stop ‘unstoppable juggernaut’ winning Quadruple
CM: Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)
Love him or hate him, Fernandes would start for Liverpool every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Liverpool’s midfield has been their downfall this season. There is no connection with the frontline and the defence has been exposed far too often thanks to players like Fabinho and Jordan Henderson underperforming.
CM: Fred (Man Utd)
It physically pains me to include Fred in this team, but he is here thanks to a couple of injuries. Thiago is still out and Christian Eriksen won’t play until the end of April at the earliest.
To give Fred some credit, he had a stellar 2022 and Erik ten Hag is bringing the best out of him, like he has done with several Red Devils players this season.
RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
After a five-player hiatus, we have another Liverpool player in this combined XI.
Salah is having a quiet season by his usual standards. He still has 19 goals in all competitions, though only eight of those have come in the Premier League. Neither Antony or Jadon Sancho stood a chance of getting in ahead of the Liverpool legend.
ST: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
Nunez is already a favourite at Anfield, where fans are patiently waiting for him to really kick on after a stuttery start to life in England. The Uruguayan gives me big Timo Werner vibes, but I do quite like him, and given both sides’ lack of a natural striker, I have given him the nod in my team.
LW: Marcus Rashford (Man Utd)
This was the easiest decision of the whole team, to be honest. It doesn’t even need explaining.
25 goals in 39 games this season is pretty good. And Rashford’s success couldn’t be happening to a nicer bloke, really.
READ MORE: Sir Alex ends Marcus Rashford debate in grim omen for Man Utd rivals
Manager: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Okay, Ten Hag is the best thing since sliced bread, I know. His stock is very high at the moment. However, if I was offered either manager at my club, I would still take Klopp, who has won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Club World Cup during his time at Anfield.
His team might be struggling this season, but that is not his fault. He was not backed as needed last summer and the signing of Cody Gakpo in January was not nearly enough to put right the summer’s wrongs. That they might still scrape fourth says far, far more about everyone else than it does about Liverpool this season.