RTwo of the Premier League’s greatest rivals do battle on Saturday as Liverpool welcome Manchester United to Anfield.
A run of inconsistent performances has left Jurgen Klopp’s side languishing behind in the title race, with United level at the top of the table with Manchester City.
Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Sadio Mane are among those that have been ruled out of the huge encounter, but which players available for selection would make a combined XI judged on their form so far this season? Goal does its best to pick such a team…
DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United): Having kept six clean sheets in his seven Premier League appearances to date, it’s been an impressive start to the new campaign for the Spain goalkeeper, who continues to prove he is one of the best in world football.
ANTONIO VALENCIA (Manchester United): Has gone from inconsistent winger to one of the most dependable full-backs and regular captain for one of, if not the biggest club in the world. Perhaps the most improved Premier League player of the last decade.
ERIC BAILLY (Manchester United): Almost went under the radar during an impressive debut campaign at Old Trafford, and has continued where he left off with a number of solid showings for Jose Mourinho’s side.
PHIL JONES (Manchester United): Many expected Jones to be phased out following the big-money arrival of Victor Lindelof, but instead he has not only become a mainstay of the United backline but also earned himself a place back in the England team. Finally showing why Sir Alex Ferguson tried so hard to sign him back in 2011.
ASHLEY YOUNG (Manchester United): Much like Valencia before him, Young has successfully managed the transition from winger to full-back. His defensive capabilities have yet to be fully tested so far this season, but he certainly has all the attributes to be an attacking threat in wide areas.
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN (Manchester United): It seems strange to say now, but this time last season many were asking whether Mkhitaryan even had a future at Old Trafford. Fast-forward 12 months, the Armenia international has already laid on five Premier League goals this season and is almost indispensable to Jose Mourinho’s side.
NEMANJA MATIC (Manchester United): Potentially one of the signings of the summer, the former Chelsea midfielder has been metronomic at the heart of the United midfield, with his presence also allowing Paul Pogba to flourish before the France international’s recent injury.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO (Liverpool): Having sat out the opening weeks of the season amid speculation regarding his future, Coutinho has needed little time to rediscover his best form. Stunning goals against Leicester City and Newcastle have suggested he will remain a key figure at Anfield this term.
MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool): Has managed the presumed impossible in making Liverpool even more thrilling to watch going forward than they were last season, with his flying runs leaving defences in his wake. Still needs to work on his finishing but has certainly improved since his fateful spell at Chelsea.
ROMELU LUKAKU (Manchester United): Some questioned paying £75 million for the Belgium striker, but it is already becoming apparent that United may well have found themselves another relative bargain. The Premier League’s top scorer with seven goals, almost everything Lukaku touches ends up in the back of the net at present.
MARCUS RASHFORD (Manchester United): Just pips out team-mate Anthony Martial, though either player would be deserving given their performances so far this campaign. Despite being played out of his favoured position, Rashford continues to get better and better and is quicky turning into one of England’s best hopes ahead of the World Cup.
Have we got it right? Is there someone missing from our XI that deserves a place? Have your say in the comments below!
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