Liverpool vs Manchester United Combined XI

Liverpool vs Manchester United Combined XI
Image result for alexander arnold and rashford
Image from the Telegraph
Mixed feelings from the Manchester United camp this week as they make the short journey to Anfield on Sunday for their big clash against Liverpool. United went into the Valencia game with no pressure to win after a comfortable victory against Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon. However, a slow, dreary and passive performance against Valencia allowed the lower-mid table Spanish side to ease their way into a 2-0 lead with messy defending and lacklustre attacking play and has certainly cast doubt over United's ability to get anything from the game. Liverpool themselves are top of the table after a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth and have progressed to the Round of Sixteen in the Champions League after a 1-0 victory over Napoli at home did just enough. Both teams have class in their sides, one team has the more impressive form but both sides seem to be accomplished in a 4-3-3 formation and so that is the one that I'll pick for this combined eleven. 

No decision needed really. Yes Liverpool's goalkeeper has been excellent so far and only made one or two mistakes all season, but David de Gea has been an outstanding servant to the Red Devils, carrying his side year after year and hopefully for many more to come. 

Not a difficult decision either. An outstanding young talent for club and country that shines whenever he plays. Dalot is getting to that point and I expect he should start against Liverpool on Sunday but has not shown it yet. Valencia was average again for United in Spain and is likely to leave as a free agent in the summer. 

Liverpool's improvement to their defence has been one of the reasons why they are top of the table and have only conceded six goals in sixteen games and Virgil van Dijk has been the main reason why. The big Dutchman has made a significant impact to Liverpool's performances with his aerial prowess and brute strength providing Liverpool with a commander at the back and not only that but someone who can play out from the back, something the best managers crave from defenders. Eric ailly is United's best defender and better than Lovren or Matip and uses his pace and strength to his advantage which has most noteably been seen with Aubameyang at Old Trafford this season. He should be a shoe-in at Anfield on Sunday as he is in this squad. 

What a remarkable rise this Scotsman has had since joining the Reds last summer. Liverpool have desperately needed a left back for so long and then this man comes in and stars for the club after being relegated with Hull the season before. He already has three assists this season and is certain to gain more and more they way he performs. I honestly would not be surprised if Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling for Robertson as Alba and Marcelo aren't getting any younger.

I think the midfield is Liverpool's weakest part of their team and something that United should capitalize on. Henderson and Milner are solid players but have mistakes in them as has been shown against PSG and Red Star Belgrade. Ander Herrera has been excellent since coming back into the fray for Manchester United and should play on Sunday. Naby Keita's progress this season has been hampered by injuries that have prevented him from playing for the Reds but when he does play his pace and energy are a bonus that any side would be strong with, especially one with Jurgen Klopp's philosophy. Honestly, on Wednesday at 19:59 GMT I would have put Paul Pogba in my starting XI and the United squad but after watching the Valencia game, I am not so sure. He had moments of brilliance against the Spanish side but they came infrequently and did not lead to anything. Mata was at least trying to get the game going with his quick passing and making runs but barely got found by his sluggish team mates. 

Mohammed Salah has proved the 'one season wonder' chanters wrong as he continues to show his composure in front of goal with a hattrick against Bournemouth and a deciding goal against Napoli. He would be an asset to any side and is going to be the main man for Liverpool against United on Sunday. Based on form, Marcus Rashford starts over Sadio Mane as the Senegalese forward has not scored a league goal since late October against Cardiff. Rashford on the other hand, starred against Fulham at the weekend and was vital for the comeback against Southampton and after coming off the bench against Valencia, halved the deficit with a good header. His raw pace could pose as a challenging threat for the Liverpool defence as they did at Old Trafford earlier this year. 

He has never been a classic number nine like Harry Kane or Luis Suarez but comes deep to act like a playmaker and works hard for the side every time he steps onto the pitch. A bargain for £30 million in the 2015 summer transfer window it seems now as he could easily go for £80 million plus. With that being said, if Martial was fit, Firmino would struggle to get into the squad as the Brazilian has only four goals to his name in the Premier League and when compared to Martial's seven it seems an obvious choice. Lukaku may have got on the scoresheet at Fulham and Southampton but has still not done enough yet to be in this squad let alone start at Anfield. 

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