This weekend Manchester United and Liverpool go head-to-head in one of the Premier League’s biggest games.
Both teams have invested heavily in this summer’s transfer window, but if you had the choice of selection from both squads, who would you pick?
Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson, who still hasn’t recovered from the ankle injury which saw him hobble off against Bournemouth.
The ‘little magician’, Philippe Coutinho also misses the clash, after picking up a red card in Liverpool’s embarrassing 3-0 defeat to West Ham United at Anfield, before the international break.
England’s all-time top goal scorer, Wayne Rooney, will be hoping to bring back some of his international form into the league and will be up for selection.
David De Gea could also make a return to the starting XI while new signing, Anthony Martial, will be hoping to prove his audacious price tag was on the mark for the Red Devils.
Here’s one possible starting XI, in a 4-4-2 formation, from the Manchester United and Liverpool squads ahead of this weekend’s clash.
David De Gea
The keeper has been involved in transfer talks all summer and after the comical situation with Real Madrid, the Spaniard had no choice but to stay with Manchester United – and has now penned a new four year deal.
He started for Spain during the international break, so he’ll be hoping to make his first start of the season against Liverpool.
It’ll be a huge boost for the Manchester side if he returns, and he’s certainly a better option in goal than Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet, despite the Belgium keeper already keeping three clean sheets this season.
The United keeper might not even start on Saturday but if he does, he’ll give the home side added stability in defence. He’s agile, confident and reliable in goal.
In comparison, Mignolet can make mistakes despite proving solid so far this season. One of the Liverpool keeper’s biggest weakness is his distribution and in what could be an end-to-end encounter, quick release of the ball could be a key factor.
De Gea will get the United attack going quickly and you can rely on his safe hands in goal.
This was probably the toughest choice. Nathaniel Clyne is ‘England’s best right-back’ according to Brendan Rodgers and many would agree.
The ex-Southampton defender was brought to Anfield for mere pennies, and his performances so far have proven why he’s been one of their best transfers.
Equally, United’s new right-back, Matteo Darmian, has been applauded by fans since his arrival. The Italian international has been near perfect in the opening games of the season.
Both defenders like to overlap in attack and are very reliable in defence. However, for a clash of this magnitude, Clyne’s extra Premier League experience could give him the edge.
United fans would probably choose Darmian and Liverpool fans would probably choose Clyne, which is expected.
The United defender looked extremely uncomfortable a few seasons ago when fans were missing the Ferdinand-Vidic partnership.
However, Smalling has now cemented himself at the heart of the defence in both the England and Manchester United colours, and he’s certainly the most accomplished from both squads.
Let’s be honest, Dejan Lovren? No thanks.
Liverpool fans have a painful job having to watch Skrtel and Lovren make mistakes on a weekly basis, but Daley Blind doesn’t offer much hope for United fans either.
Smalling is an obvious preferred choice so it was simply a question of who would play alongside him, and the Reds man gets the nod this time.
Mamadou Sakho would be most Liverpool fans’ choice ahead of Skrtel, and he’d certainly make this list if he hadn’t been excluded from the Liverpool squad for the opening four games of the season.
As a result, largely by default, Martin Skrtel makes the cut. The fact he’s a reluctant choice in a combined XI suggests it’s obvious where both teams need to invest in the January transfer window.
Another obvious choice was Manchester United’s left-back, Luke Shaw.
Although Joe Gomez, Liverpool’s new youngster, has impressed in the opening games, he’s still got a lot to learn about the Premier League and his inexperience was evident against West Ham.
Shaw on the other hand looks revitalised this season and his performance against Switzerland as England’s left-back on Tuesday was encouraging.
The World Cup winner was another great addition to what is now a very strong Manchester United midfield.
There’s lots of options from both squads in midfield, and several formations that could be used.
In the defensive midfield berth, Brendan Rodgers has utilised Henderson, Milner, Can and Lucas in that role already this season, and with Allen also in the squad, there’s certainly rotation in their midfield.
Likewise, United can turn to Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger or Carrick to carry out that role.
James Milner has been arguably one of Liverpool’s best players so far this season, so he shouldn’t miss out on the starting XI, but Schweinsteiger is equally as important.
He’d slot in brilliantly at the bottom of a diamond midfield, controlling the game from the back and mopping things up in front of the defence – something he does so well.
The former Manchester City man also makes the cut, sitting in front of Schweinsteiger, but as a left-sided central midfielder.
His work rate and strength in the middle can’t be underestimated and in a local derby like this, he’s a player you can’t keep out of the side.
He’s also adaptable and can play in any position across the midfield, so if a change in formation or personnel is needed, he can accommodate that. Manager’s dream.
Mata’s performance against Liverpool last season is something Manchester United fans will want to remind their rivals of, and if his form so far this season is anything to go by, he’s looking equally as dangerous.
Mata will be the playmaker – and with added protection from James Milner in the middle, he’ll have the freedom to roam on the right-side of central midfield.
United have employed their star summer signing as a winger in the opening games, but in a combined XI, it’s easy to see how you could play him in a free role at the top of the midfield, due to Philippe Coutinho’s absence from the Liverpool side.
The creative Dutchman likes to cut in from out wide and he’ll stretch defenders.
Likewise, Wayne Rooney will do the same from a ‘false nine’ position.
England’s all-time top goal scorer will run behind, between and across the back four causing all kinds of problems for the defence.
When his goalscoring boots are on and confidence is high, he’s one of the best around.
He’s a top striker and in a local derby like this, he’s someone you’d always want on the pitch.
Liverpool’s big Belgian had to be included.
He was one of the best strikers in the business last season and the £32m price tag Liverpool planted on his head hasn’t seemed to faze him.
With Daniel Sturridge still recovering from injury and Danny Ings yet to make his starting debut, there was only Benteke who could realistically partner Rooney in what looks like a strong attacking XI.
While Rooney roams around, Benteke will stick to the box like glue, hold the ball up and win aerial battles whilst commanding the box. Beast.