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Combined XI: Manchester United v Liverpool (Premier League era)

Ahead of the hotly-anticipated Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool this weekend, we have put together an all-time Premier League combined XI comprised of players from both halves of this bitter rivalry.

England Premier League

The biggest match on the English footballing calendar in the eyes of many, the meeting of Liverpool and Manchester United certainly brings together the two most successful clubs in the country - with 19 and 20 league titles respectively.

Since the establishment of the Premier League in 1992, these two titans of the English game have seen a plethora of footballing legends come and go, with both Anfield and Old Trafford playing host to some of the sport's biggest stars.

We cast our eye over some of the finest talents to have played for both Liverpool and Man Utd over the past three decades to put together an all-time Premier League combined XI...

The selected team takes shape in a modern 4-3-3 formation:

GK: Peter Schmeichel

Starting off in goal, we have plumped for the colossus that is Peter Schmeichel.

A domineering figure in goal during a period of prolonged success for Manchester United during the 90s, 'The Great Dane' won a total of five Premier League titles at Old Trafford.

Standing at an imposing 6ft 4ins, Schmeichel was both blessed with the size and personality to assert authority in his box whilst also possessing staggering athleticism which helped him to produce many a match-winning save for the Red Devils.

RB: Gary Neville

If not the most gifted technician in this side, you would definitely struggle to find a more dedicated and loyal footballer than Gary Neville.

The quintessential one-club man, Man Utd academy graduate Gary Neville won a remarkable eight Premier League titles during a 19-year professional career at Old Trafford, acting as club captain in two of these successes.

An astute defender rarely caught out of position, Neville was also a major threat going forward in his prime with terrific crossing ability on the overlap, having formed a close understanding with fellow United legend David Beckham down the right flank.

CB: Rio Ferdinand

Whenever the term ball-playing defender is banded around, Man Utd legend Rio Ferdinand instantly comes to mind.

A winner of six Premier League titles with Man Utd, Ferdinand was an elegant central defender who was perhaps somewhat ahead of his time with regards to his ability on the ball and capacity to drive forwards into midfield.

Forming one of the great all-time Premier League centre-back partnerships alongside Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford, Man Utd kept a mammoth 28 clean sheets in the 2008/09 campaign, breaking a world record of 1,311 minutes without conceding a league goal along the way.

CB: Virgil van Dijk

The first Liverpool representative forcing his way into the side is another trailblazing defender in the form of Dutchman Virgil van Dijk.

Arriving at Anfield from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender of £75m in 2017, Van Dijk was able to act as a catalyst for Jurgen Klopp's Reds to transition from challengers into winners, inspiring the club to their first ever Premier League title and sixth Champions League crown.

Comparable in attributes to Ferdinand, Van Dijk is a centre-back with world class technical ability on the ball, and has been named in the FIFPRO World XI on three separate occasions in 2019, 2020 and 2022.

LB: Denis Irwin

Although a player who is perhaps lesser known amongst football fans of a younger generation, Denis Irwin was certainly not underappreciated during his decorated 12-year stay at Man Utd between 1990 and 2002.

Accruing an impressive total of seven Premier League winners' medals under Sir Alex Ferguson at United, Irishman Irwin was a full-back with both impeccable defensive instincts and admirable ability to contribute to attacks.

A versatile and two-footed operator capable of filling in at both left-back and right-back, Irwin was also a proficient set-piece taker who chipped in with a number of important goals for the Red Devils.

CM: Roy Keane

One of Man Utd's best ever captains, Roy Keane is a player who will forever be etched into folklore at Old Trafford as a seven-time Premier League champion.

Hailing from Cork, Ireland, Keane was a natural born leader and tenacious competitor for United, beginning his career as an all action, box-to-box midfield general before evolving into more of a withdrawn holding midfielder as he got older.

A popular figure amongst the club's ardent support, Keane was not only the archetypal ball-winning enforcer that he is often characterised as given his fiery personality, with the ex-United skipper also possessing a terrific passing range and ability to dictate the play.

CM: Paul Scholes

One of the most gifted players to have emerged from Man Utd's famous academy, as a member of the celebrated Class of 92, Paul Scholes won a staggering 11 Premier League titles with his boyhood club.

Beginning his career as an advanced midfielder or sometimes even a second striker, Scholes eventually developed into one of the finest midfield playmakers in all of Europe, acting as the metronome that kept the Red Devils ticking in the middle of the park.

In contrast to the traditional image of an all-action British midfielder covering every blade of grass, Scholes' key strengths revolved around his football brain and technical prowess, earning public plaudits from legendary figures such as Zinedine Zidane, Xavi and Pep Guardiola.

CM: Steven Gerrard

Although the only player in this team to have never won a Premier League title, famously going close in 2013/14 when Liverpool were pipped late on by Manchester City, Steven Gerrard remains one of the most inspirational footballers to have ever graced the English game.

Making 504 Premier League appearances and scoring 120 goals, Gerrard was the complete midfielder - with the physical attributes to dominate opponents and technical prowess to create and score many a vital goal.

Named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on eight occasions, Gerrard became the beating heart of Liverpool on the pitch throughout his career, captaining the club for over a decade before moving on to LA Galaxy in 2015.

RW: Mo Salah

From one Liverpool icon to another, Mo Salah has been a revelation at Anfield since arriving from Roma in the summer of 2017.

Winner of the Premier League Golden Boot on three occasions - 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2021/22 - Salah has been at the forefront of Liverpool's return to the top of the English game under Klopp, as a key player in the Reds' Premier League and Champions League-winning campaigns.

Regularly utilised on the right side of the front three in Klopp's favoured 4-3-3 system, Salah is a ruthless finisher who is relentless in his pursuit of goals, with his blistering pace and limitless stamina allowing him to gain an edge over opposition defenders.

ST: Wayne Rooney

As Man Utd's all-time record goalscorer with 253, Wayne Rooney is a bonafide club legend at Old Trafford, winning a total of five Premier League titles with the Red Devils.

One of the finest English talents ever produced, Rooney arrived at Man Utd from Everton as an 18-year-old sensation in 2004, and instantly hit the ground running at Old Trafford with a hat-trick on his debut in a Champions League tie against Fenerbahce.

The Scouser would not look back from this glorious introduction, developing into a tigerish forward with an all-round skillset - providing the link between midfield and attack for United whilst also a clinical finisher himself.

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo

Whilst perhaps not the Premier League's greatest ever player, it's hard to argue against Cristiano Ronaldo representing the greatest player to have ever graced the division.

Arriving at Man Utd from Sporting Lisbon as a skinny teenager in 2003, Ronaldo would grow into a footballing phenomenon under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, with both mesmerising technical ability and exceptional speed and power.

Eventually developing into one of the greatest goalscorers football has ever seen at Real Madrid, the most entertaining version of Ronaldo was arguably during his latter years at Man Utd, with the Portuguese icon dribbling past defenders with ease and scoring free kicks for fun.

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