Manchester United may be struggling to hit top form at present but a small consolation is that they still appear to have the upper hand over bitter rivals Liverpool.
Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently admitted he feared for the future of his beloved Red Devils seeing the appointment of Jurgen Klopp as something that will mean good times ahead for the Anfield outfit.
However, recent displays and the Ladbrokes News mix’n’match XI show that Fergie needn’t worry – for the time being at least.
No fewer than seven of the current United starting XI made the cut, while just four Reds were given the nod.
Keeper – David de Gea
Just about the only thing that has been consistently good at United in the post-Ferguson era De Gea has continued to put in the inspired performances that saw Real Madrid come calling in the summer. United may be struggling at present but things would be a darn site worse if not for the solid Spaniard.
Left Back – Alberto Moreno
Moreno may have his detractors but as a virtual ever-present in the Reds back four this season he is a steady pair of feet. If Luke Shaw was fit and had continued the form he reached before breaking his leg he may well have got the nod but with Marcus Rojo, Daley Blind, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Ashley Young failing to shine at left-back the Liverpool man gets in by default.
Centre Backs – Martin Skrtl and Chris Smalling
Former Maidenhead and Fulham man Smalling was a must for this XI and is arguably one of the most improved players in the Premier League in the last two seasons. With 84 Fantasy points he is the joint-third highest ranked defender this term. Once again injuries and inconsistency rule out the likes of Phil Jones, Paddy McNair, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren making Skrtl the only viable option to partner Smalling.
Right Back – Matteo Darmian
The 26-year-old Italian has crammed a lot into his fledgling United career already starting with a bang, being played out of position and suffering a blip in form but the former Torino man is back to his best and despite missing a few games has 58 fantasy points to Nathaniel Clyne’s 57.
Left Midfield – Philippe Coutinho
Unplayable at his best the Brazilian is exactly what United were hoping for when signing Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven. With just five goals this season he may not be the potent goal threat Liverpool had hoped for yet but with his pace, urgency and creativity is an easy pick here.
Centre Midfielders – Daley Blind and James Milner
Not the most exciting partnership possible between the two clubs but with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick, Jordan Henderson and Lucas struggling for form and/or fitness the boring but dependable Blind and Milner get the go ahead.
Right Midfield – Anthony Martial
Liverpool know only too well what Martial is capable of after the French teenager cut through the Reds’ defence earlier this season. He has simmered a bit since an electric start to his Old Trafford career but a recent goal against Swansea should boost his confidence and his trickery and pace sees him put out on the right for this XI.
Attacking midfielder – Juan Mata
Despite being played out of position for much of the campaign Mata remains arguably United’s biggest threat. Back to his best over Christmas against old side Chelsea, United fans are crying out for the diminutive Spaniard to be deployed in the number 10 role for United and we’ll happily oblige here.
Striker – Wayne Rooney
For all the stick he has received this season – and not all of it unwarranted – Rooney remains a class act who knows where the goal is. If fit and in form the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke could keep the England captain on the bench but with four goals in his last three games Rooney looks ready to go on one of his trademark scoring bursts and leads the line for us.
Agree with our selections or think we’ve made some howlers? Get in touch in the comments section below.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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