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Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

Ahead of Sunday's Premier League showdown between Manchester United and Liverpool, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both squads.

Manchester United and Liverpool renew hostilities on Sunday when Jurgen Klopp's title challengers travel to Old Trafford.

The match is Liverpool's game in hand over champions Manchester City, and victory would leave the title race firmly back under their own control after surrendering top spot earlier this month.

However, United would relish the chance to derail the hopes of their fiercest rivals and are a team transformed since the last time the two sides met, which proved to be Jose Mourinho's final match at the helm.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has since won 12 of his 14 games in interim charge, completely turning United's season around to leave them in the top four.

Here, Sports Mole selects its combined XI from both squads, using only players available for this weekend's game.



Combined XI: MNU vs. LIV

The goalkeeper was one of the most difficult positions to pick in this team, but David de Gea's recent return to form narrowly gives him the edge over Alisson Becker. The Liverpool shot-stopper has enjoyed the better season overall, but on current form De Gea is back to something close to his best.

By contrast Virgil van Dijk is perhaps the easiest decision, with the centre-back having been largely responsible for helping Liverpool's transformation into genuine title contenders. Partnering him is not so straightforward, though, with Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren both sidelined for Liverpool.

Once again the decision comes down to current form, and Victor Lindelof has emerged as one of Solskjaer's most trusted defenders in recent weeks to earn his place in the team above Joel Matip, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly.

Liverpool claim both full-backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold's recent return to fitness coming just in time and Andrew Robertson chosen above Luke Shaw on the opposite flank in a relatively simple pick.

Paul Pogba was the only United player to make the December edition of this combined XI, and that was when he was struggling to get into the United team. Since that match the Frenchman has been in superb form, scoring eight goals and providing five assists in his last nine Premier League outings.

Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera have both worked their way into contention for a place in this team with their recent form too, while further competition comes from Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and James Milner in midfield. Georginio Wijnaldum has been Liverpool's most consistent midfield performer all season, though, while Fabinho has developed into a key player for the Reds in a couple of different position in recent weeks.

Marcus Rashford leads the line ahead of Roberto Firmino and Romelu Lukaku by virtue of his drastic upturn in form under Solskjaer, although it is a narrow decision to choose him above the Liverpool man - largely because of how well Firmino links up with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Firmino has not necessarily been at his best throughout the campaign, though, whereas Salah is once again at the top of the Premier League scoring charts and Mane has scored in each of his last four games.

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Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Liverpool?

Man Utd
Draw
Liverpool
Man Utd
44.8%
Draw
14.5%
Liverpool
40.7%
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk pictured on February 9, 2019
Read Next:
How Liverpool could line up against Man Utd
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool35277179205988
2Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
4Chelsea35207859382167
5Arsenal34206868432566
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd34197863481564
7Everton35147145044649
8Watford34147134949049
9Leicester CityLeicester35146154847148
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35127164454-1043
12Crystal Palace35126174348-542
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton3499164057-1736
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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