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Oct 24, 2021 at 4.30pm UK
Man UtdManchester United
0-5
LiverpoolLiverpool

Shaw (41'), Ronaldo (45+2'), Fred (45+3'), Fernandes (46'), Maguire (55'), Wan-Bissaka (86')
Pogba (61')
FT(HT: 0-4)
Keita (5'), Jota (13'), Salah (38', 45+5', 50')

Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

:Headline: Combined XI: Manchester United vs. Liverpool:
Sports Mole picks a combined XI from Manchester United and Liverpool, using only players expected to be available for Sunday's clash.
Sports Mole

A clash of the titans commences at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League, as Manchester United lock horns with old foes Liverpool.

Both sides marched to thrilling 3-2 successes in their midweek Champions League battles, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men came back from 2-0 down to defeat Atalanta BC 3-2 as Liverpool edged a five-goal thriller with Atletico Madrid.

However, Man United found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-2 humiliation against Leicester City in their most recent Premier League encounter, while Jurgen Klopp's side ran out 5-0 winners against Watford.

The two giants are now separated by four places and four points in the Premier League table, and fans can look forward to two of the league's most potent attackers aiming to stamp their authority on the Old Trafford turf.

Here, Sports Mole selects a combined XI for Manchester United and Liverpool, using only players expected to be available for the showdown.


DEFENCE

David de Gea has truly lived up to the hype this term, taking advantage of Dean Henderson's enforced and lengthy absence through coronavirus infection to re-establish himself as Solskjaer's number one. However, Alisson Becker already boasts four clean sheets from seven appearances in the league this term and was a shoo-in for this team.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka's attacking qualities continue to be called into question despite his obvious defensive capabilities, while Trent Alexander-Arnold already has three assists to his name from eight appearances this term and has averaged 3.7 key passes per game this term compared to Wan-Bissaka's 0.9, making him an obvious choice for this XI.

On the other side of defence, Luke Shaw continues to fulfil his potential, but Andy Robertson already ranks higher in tackles, clearances, interceptions and aerials won this season, meaning that his spot in this team was never in any real danger.

Raphael Varane could have forced his way into contention for this team alongside first-choice defender Virgil van Dijk, but with the World Cup winner out of this contest through injury, he misses out on a spot. The battle between Joel Matip and Harry Maguire was a very close one, but the former's stellar start to the season has seen him post a 90% pass accuracy and 3.7 aerials won per game compared to Maguire's 2.1, so it is a full Liverpool backline for us.


MIDFIELD

Perhaps selling fans a false sense of hope with four assists on the opening day of the season against Leeds United, Paul Pogba has struggled to keep up such a prolific streak in recent weeks, but seven assists from eight games already this term is still a brilliant haul. Also averaging 2.1 dribbles per game and 2.5 shots per game so far this term, Pogba edges out Scott McTominay and Jordan Henderson while Thiago Alcantara remains out injured.

While he was controversially named on the bench for Liverpool's battle with Atletico Madrid, Fabinho is sure to return to the first XI at Old Trafford and will aim to prove why. The Brazilian already has one goal and one assist to his name in the league this season and plays his part defensively with an average of 1.5 interceptions and 1.2 tackles per 90, as well as an 87.9% pass accuracy.

Reports have speculated that Bruno Fernandes has been limping in training in recent days and may be a doubt for this clash, but while the Portuguese playmaker has not been ruled out, it is impossible not to include him in the hole. Already hitting four goals and setting up two more in eight Premier League matches this term, Fernandes has also averaged 3.9 key passes per game and eases his way into the XI.


ATTACK

Marcus Rashford is expected to shake off a dead leg in time to start this weekend, but the England international would have struggled to force his way into this team over Sadio Mane even if fully fit. The Senegalese attacker already has five league goals to his name this term and has averaged 3.8 shots per game, which sees him edge out Diogo Jota for the spot on the left.

On the opposite side of the attack, there was only ever one option. Amid calls for his feats to be recognised with the Ballon d'Or award, Mohamed Salah travels to Old Trafford aiming to score for the 10th game in a row for Liverpool across all competitions, while he has already amassed 11 goal contributions from eight Premier League games as he enjoys the hottest streak of his career so far.

Roberto Firmino's hat-trick against Watford was the perfect way to force himself back into Klopp's plans, but the Brazilian cannot find his way into this XI over a five-time World Player of the Year. Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League heroics may have made the headlines since his return to Old Trafford, but three goals from four Premier League starts is a respectable return nonetheless, although United's sixth-placed standing in the table will hardly appease him.

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