COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Daniel Sturridge, Anthony Martial and Philippe Coutinho miss out in what would be the strongest possible combined starting XI between Liverpool and Manchester United.
James Milner, Adam Lallana and Wayne Rooney would also be kept out of the starting line-up, with Luke Shaw, Jordan Henderson and Juan Mata taking their place.
Liverpool’s star striker Sturridge has struggled to remain a regular feature for the Reds this season as Jurgen Klopp has opted to deploy Roberto Firmino in a central role.
The Brazilian has been in excellent form and has already grabbed three goals during Liverpool’s opening seven fixtures.
He would make the starting XI, but as part of an attacking trio behind Manchester United centre-forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Anthony Martial misses out as a result, with Firmino taking up his role on the left hand side ahead of Coutinho.
Sadio Mane would own the right flank after a hugely impressive start to life on Merseyside and would take up his usual position on the right hand side of an attacking trio.
The Liverpool forward wouldn’t replace Juan Mata though, as the Spaniard’s bright form keeps him in the starting XI.
Mata would play in a more central role, at the helm of a midfield three – a position which Adam Lallana has excelled in this season.
The England man would miss out purely due to Mata’s ability on the ball but would make a suitable replacement as a substitute.
Liverpool’s captain, Jordan Henderson would line-up alongside United’s big-money signing, Paul Pogba but the United captain doesn’t have a place in the side.
Alongside Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia also drop out to make way for Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne.
James Milner’s inexperience at left-back means Luke Shaw is the prefered choice and Eric Bailly will add strength at centre-back.
David De Gea, United’s best player, obviously retains his position in goal as Liverpool’s goal-keeping controversies continue.