Monday 25 September 2017

United/Liverpool Dream Team - Only four Reds and no place for Wayne Rooney

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Manchester United host Liverpool this weekend in one of the most anticipated fixtures of the Premier League season.

Both sides head into the match at Old Trafford on the back of defeats, ensuring the importance of gaining a result has only increased.

Louis van Gaal did the double over Manchester United's fiercest rivals last season, winning 3-0 at Old Trafford and 2-1 at Anfield and dominate selection, with just three of Brendan Rodgers' squad making the cut.

So it seems only right that our combined XI features more United players than it does Liverpool.

United full back Matteo Darmian is unlucky to miss out, David De Gea is in despite having yet to feature because of contractual issues, while Brazilian Philippe Coutinho gets the nod though suspension rules him out of the eagerly-awaited encounter.

With an early season slump, there is no place for United captain Wayne Rooney.

GK

David De Gea (Manchester United)

He hasn't even played this season, but De Gea goes straight into our side ahead of United team-mate Sergio Romero and Liverpool's Simon Mignolet.

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David De Gea has told his coach that he is distracted by all the speculation about his future

With the transfer window closed and his proposed move to Real Madrid over for now, Van Gaal is expected to bring the Spain international back into the fold and there's no question he's the best goalkeeper of the lot.

RB

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

Arguably the toughest dilemma of the lot comes at right-back, with Clyne and Matteo Darmian both impressing so far this term.

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The nod goes to the Liverpool defender by a whisker, but very little to chose between the pair.

CB

Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

For all the speculation over Manchester United signing a centre-back during the summer, Smalling has shown that the need for reinforcements isn't as great as some feared.

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Chris Smalling has backed Wayne Rooney to rediscover his form

The England international has been consistent and appears to be growing in confidence all the time. It means there's no place for Dejan Lovren, who in contrast appears to be regressing from the player Liverpool spent £20m to sign.

CB

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

Thankfully for Liverpool, Skrtel has looked good this term, and beats Daley Blind to the other centre-back berth. United's Dutch midfielder/defender/full-back is still new to the central position.

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Liverpool's Martin Skrtel has signed a new contract with the club

LB

Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Joe Gomez has made an unexpectedly impressive start to his Anfield career, with the 18-year-old playing in every game since joining from Charlton.

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Luke Shaw starred in the recent 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes

Shaw however has begun to show why Manchester United were willing to take such a huge gamble on a teenager, being solid defensively and a threat going forward.

M

Juan Mata (Manchester United)

The Spanish play-maker has started every match, chipped in with a goal and got himself an assist. A solid start.

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Juan Mata has not played for Spain since the 2014 World Cup

His presence means there is no place for Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who has only managed to feature twice this term.

M

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)

The World Cup winner is beginning to show why, despite concerns over his fitness, he's been among the best midfielders in Europe over recent years. With Michael Carrick injured, he'll be wanting to impress during a potential run in the starting line-up.

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Manchester United defender Bastian Schweinsteiger looks to pass the ball against Paris Saint-Germain

He beats Adam Lallana to a place, with the Liverpool midfielder also only starting two games so far this term.

M

Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United)

The former Southampton player has impressed in the centre of the park with his passing and ability to disrupt the opposition.

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Manchester United's Morgan Schneiderlin (R) celebrates scoring a goal with Ashley Young (L) and Memphis Depay (C) Action Images via Reuters / Anthony Bolante Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

James Milner, one of only two Liverpool midfielders to start every match this term is yet to set the world alight following his free transfer from Manchester City.

M

Memphis Depay (Manchester United)

The young Netherlands international looks to be showing more ability and growing in confidence with each match and his recent European double offered a glimpse of the big future the summer signing could have at Old Trafford. It means there is no place for Roberto Firmino, one of Liverpool's big summer signings.

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Memphis Depay holds the ball away from Newcastle United’s Vurnon Anita

M

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Liverpool's most impressive performer to date and has been at the heart of the Merseysiders' best attacking plays this season. The Brazilian will be a huge loss for the game at Old Trafford, absent through suspension.

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers with Philippe Coutinho after he was sent off

ST

Christian Benteke (Liverpool)

With just the one goal to his name the former Aston Villa player hasn't exactly been prolific, but he has been causing opposing defences a headache, particularly in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal.

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Liverpool's Christian Benteke scored a controversial winner against Bournemouth

With Daniel Sturridge still out, Benteke will hope to begin writing himself into Anfield folklore with a goal at Old Trafford.

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