Michael Owen has rather boldly claimed that Manchester United are not that far behind Liverpool in terms of the strength of their squad.
We decided we’d try putting this to the test by comparing players in each position on the pitch from both clubs and coming up with a combined XI.
And while this is obviously just one person’s opinion, it’s hard to see how any reasonable person who’s watched any football over the last year or so could argue anything other than only two Man Utd players making the line up – and even then we’re possibly being slightly generous.
Here’s our best attempt at a fair comparison in each position…
GK: Alisson vs David de Gea
While there’s no doubt David de Gea has long been probably the best goalkeeper in the world and one of Manchester United’s most important players, those days are starting to feel like a distant memory now. Liverpool shot-stopper Alisson, meanwhile, has instantly established himself as a world class and vital performer for Liverpool.
CB: Virgil van Dijk vs Victor Lindelof
No contest here. Victor Lindelof has been decent for United, but fairly inconsistent. Either way, he’s a long way behind Liverpool’s commanding defensive leader Virgil van Dijk, who has won PFA Player of the Year, Uefa Men’s Player of the Year and could even pick up the Ballon d’Or next.
Winner: Van Dijk
CB: Joel Matip vs Harry Maguire
We could quite easily have done Van Dijk vs Maguire, which the LFC man would have won, with Joel Matip then probably also beating Lindelof. We’ve gone easy on MUFC here, and reckon Maguire just edges this one, though that’s largely based on his best form for Leicester City, which we’re yet to really see at Old Trafford.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Aaron Wan-Bissaka is a fine young player who’s got off to a solid start at Man Utd, but there’s surely no way anyone would pick him over the outstanding Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Liverpool man has a bit of everything to his game and is a joy to watch as an attacking outlet when he’s really on his game.
LB: Andrew Robertson vs Luke Shaw
Again, this is no contest really. While Luke Shaw has shown moments of promise for the Red Devils, he remains a flawed and inconsistent player. Andrew Robertson, meanwhile, is an absolute powerhouse with his work rate at both ends of the pitch for Jurgen Klopp’s side, and he matches his team-mate Alexander-Arnold with his immense contributions going forward.