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Manchester United v Liverpool combined XI: Premier League rivals prepare for battle at Old Trafford

Manchester United host fierce rivals Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool have enjoyed a superb, unbeaten start to the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, while Manchester United’s has been a bit more up-and-down - despite the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

However, the former Real Madrid winger has shone for the Red Devils since his return to Old Trafford and similarly Mo Salah has been the stand-out performer at Liverpool.

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The pair are unsurprisingly guaranteed to make it into a combined XI of the two rivals - but who else makes the cut?

Alisson

If David De Gea was still on his prime then he would probably take the number one spot, however the Spaniard hasn’t been at his best for Manchester United for a couple of years now, while Alisson has been tremendous since joining the club in 2018.

The Brazilian has claimed five clean sheets in Liverpool’s opening eight Premier League matches and also proved his worth with a stellar performance against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League earlier this week.

The 29-year-old is up there with one of the best in the world and would be up against Manchester City’s Ederson for the Premier League’s number one.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Luke Shaw

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil Van Dijk are guaranteed to make the XI given their form this season - the former in particular.

Bar a slip-up against Brentford, Liverpool’s defence have been superb all season and that includes Joel Matip.

Many would opt for Harry Maguire to take the second centre-back spot, however I believe the German has been brilliant for the Reds and is often overshadowed by his Dutch defensive partner.

Maguire has also been out injured in recent weeks and had a shocker in the Red Devils’ 4-2 defeat to Leicester City last weekend.

Meanwhile, I have picked Luke Shaw over Andy Robertson due to his current form.

Over the past couple of years the Scotsman has been exceptional and would have walked into any team in the world, however I don’t think Robertson has been quite at his best this season, while Shaw has continued the form that forced him back into the England set-up.

Saying that - a tricky patch for Robertson is still at a pretty high standard of football.

Fabinho, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes

I think Liverpool’s midfield is their weak link - especially since Gini Wijnaldum’s departure - however Fabinho is superb for them in the middle of the park.

Jordan Henderson has also been hugely underrated over the last few years for Liverpool, however his recent long-term injury and lack of game time sees him miss out.

Elsewhere, Paul Pogba had a very impressive start to the season and has picked up seven assists in eight league matches for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, while Bruno Fernandes has scored four goals and assisted two.

Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane

Mo Salah is the best footballer in the world right now and so he goes straight into this XI - no questions asked.

The Egyptian has been absolutely unbelievable this season and you just have to watch his superb goal against Watford to understand that.

His teammate Sadio Mane has also enjoyed a positive start to the season after struggling to match his usual form last season, scoring five goals in eight appearances for the Reds.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been Manchester United’s shining star since his return to the club and has impressed even during a tricky period for the side.

Mason Greenwood narrowly misses out on the XI after another impressive few months for the 20-year-old, who continues to make the Red Devils’ starting XI even with the arrivals of Ronaldo and Sancho.