After the international break has ended, it is time to turn our attentions back to the club football. Manchester United and Liverpool will face of in the big derby this Saturday. After a great start to the season, Man United will want to keep winning, while the hosts will want to secure a big win at Anfield.
However, big clashes are always a good opportunity to look at the clubs’ respective squads and choose a combined XI. Our combined XI of the North-West Derby is based solely on the in-form players who are not sidelined by an injury. Therefore, let’s begin.
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
An obvious choice. Liverpool had many troubles choosing which one of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius will be between the posts. Neither of them has been very reliant, especially not when compared to David De Gea. The Spanish goalkeeper has been immense in the previous years, but this season as well. He made plenty of great saves so far and is one of the big reasons why Manchester United have conceded just two goals in seven matches.
Defence – Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Ashley Young
This is one of the weakest spots of the Liverpool team. Jurgen Klopp has been changing things around constantly, in each of the four defensive spots. Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are not close to Bailly and Jones, while Valencia and Young have been performing at a very high level this season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a talented full-back but has to do plenty of work to get anywhere near United’s Ecuadorian, while Young has been unmistakable at the left-back, the makeshift position he is occupying.
Defensive Midfielders – Jordan Henderson, Nemanja Matic
If Paul Pogba has not been injured – or Marouane Fellaini, for that matter – it would be highly unrealistic to see Jordan Henderson picked. However, with the former two being sidelined, Henderson got his place in this XI. He has been good for Liverpool going forward, creating tempo to a vibrant side.
However, his defensive skills are poorer and Nemanja Matic is the one he could learn a lot from. The Serbian seems like a bargain buy and has had some very fine displays this season.
Attacking Midfielders – Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho, Marcus Rashford
Manchester United have scored 21 goals this season and many of their attacking players were on the scoresheet this season. Still, Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho get the nod this time. Salah has been highly important for Liverpool in recent weeks, one of the rare players performing well. He also took Egypt to a first World Cup in 28 years and he is in great form at the moment.
Coutinho started well after returning to the Liverpool starting XI. He played just 124 minutes in the Premier League, scoring twice and assisting one goal. The season should only get better for the Brazilian.
On the other hand, it was a very hard choice picking the left winger. With Anthony Martial in stellar form, Rashford gets the nod after fine displays for both club and country. The Englishman has been playing at a high level since the season has started and has now qualified with the national team for his first World Cup.
Striker – Romelu Lukaku
What to say about this man what has not been said before? He scored seven goals in first seven Premier League matches for Manchester United. Lukaku was very solid from the day one, scoring goals regularly, which brings confidence to the team and himself. The Belgian must be setting his eyes on the Golden Boot, as well.