Liverpool host Manchester United at Anfield in the first leg of their round-of-16 Europa League clash on Thursday night, with several top names on show.
Both clubs have struggled to meet their lofty expectations this season, but a triumph in this competition would not only secure silverware, but also a route into next season’s Champions League.
In turn, with pride obviously at stake, several individuals will have the responsibility of guiding their side through to the next round. Here is our Liverpool-Man United combined XI with Thursday’s visitors narrowly leading with six representatives.
GK: David De Gea
The goalkeeping slot ultimately picks itself, not only for the assurances that De Gea provides, but also with Simon Mignolet’s habit of making mistakes. The Spaniard is arguably the easiest pick of the bunch.
DF: Nathaniel Clyne
Having consistently impressed in his first season with Liverpool, the former Southampton man deserves his place in the side and will continue to work towards making the right-back position for England his own ahead of Euro 2016.
DF: Chris Smalling
Smalling has been a commanding presence for United this season and Louis Van Gaal will hope to get a top performance out of his leader at the back on Thursday night if United are to come away with a positive result heading into the second leg.
DF: Mamadou Sakho
Gets the nod ahead of Dejan Lovren and Marcos Rojo as the Frenchman can be an intimidating opponent if in top form and fully focused.
DF: Daley Blind
Blind has been impressive defensively for the most part this season, but his ability to build play from the back and get United moving forward with his distribution and composure on the ball is crucial.
MF: Emre Can
Aside from offering a defensive shield for the backline, the powerful midfielder’s runs forward offer a different dynamic to Liverpool and he has been in good form in recent weeks.
MF: Ander Herrera
The craftiness of the Spaniard could be crucial on Thursday night, as his ability to keep possession ticking over and finding space on the pitch will be critical for United to come away with a positive result.
MF: Juan Mata
Still the most important source of creativity for United and he will have to be on his game against a disruptive Liverpool midfield to ensure that he gets into positions where he can hurt the backline.
FW: Philippe Coutinho
Not the greatest of seasons for the Brazilian, but when in form he is a nightmare for the opposition. Jurgen Klopp will hope that the big occasion can get the best out of him and he sneaks into the team despite being forced out of his favoured position.
FW: Roberto Firmino
Eight goals and nine assists in 36 appearances so far this season don’t tell the whole story, as the former Hoffenheim star has found his feet over the last few months and is becoming a decisive figure for Liverpool.
FW: Anthony Martial
Marcus Rashford has stolen the headlines since his introduction to the first team, but Martial’s pace, movement and goalscoring threat could be the difference on Thursday night as United will need him to win his battle down the left wing.