sport news vs Liverpool combined XI: Who gets the nod up front or ...

A lot can change in football in just over a year - and the fierce rivalry between and Liverpool currently proves that more than anything else.

Flashback to January 2020, when the dethroned champions were flying high at the top of the league and welcomed their old enemy to Anfield. On that day, they came out on top with a 2-0 win and justified sensational calls from some pundits.

John Barnes and Danny Mills both named just Liverpool players in their combined XIs - with every single United big name missing out. The suggestions irked Jurgen Klopp, but their calls weren't particularly surprising.

Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer meet again when Manchester United take on Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer meet again when take on Liverpool

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Bruno Fernandes scored in the last clash between them with United triumphing in the FA Cup

Bruno Fernandes scored in the last clash between them with United triumphing in the FA Cup

After all, Liverpool were sauntering to their first top-flight title in three decades and United were flailing in their top four bid. 

Now, however, the teams fielded by the experts would look very different. With Liverpool ravaged by injuries and United sitting comfortably in second, it is players from Old Trafford who largely dominate our selections.

Discover who Sportsmail has named in our very own XI, which will only include those who are currently fit and ready for action, below... 

GOALKEEPER 

Alisson 

This was a real conundrum with three very good and very capable goalkeepers to choose from. 

Both David de Gea and Dean Henderson have been jostling for the No 1 jersey at United, with the latter perhaps more favoured towards the end of this season.

However, it is their limitations and the strong form of Alisson that sees the Liverpool man ultimately come out on top.

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Alisson gets the nod ahead of David de Gea and Dean Henderson in Sportsmail's combined XI

Alisson gets the nod ahead of David de Gea and Dean Henderson in Sportsmail's combined XI

De Gea's shot stopping ability can't be called into question, but his uncertainty with aerial balls and lapses of concentration have seen United punished in the past.

Henderson, meanwhile, is destined for a bright future but is prone to making poor and rash decisions, as shown recently against Burnley.

In comparison, Alisson cuts an assured and confident figure between the sticks, and his highlights reel of fine saves this campaign has often helped keep Liverpool alive. 

RIGHT BACK

Trent Alexander-Arnold

The fact that Gareth Southgate is hesitating over naming Trent Alexander-Arnold in his England squad for Euro 2020 is bemusing. 

The starlet's obvious ability will make him a very useful option indeed - and it is good that Klopp hasn't held back in vehemently defending his player.

Yes, Alexander-Arnold has been guilty of sloppy errors and poor positioning. 

But his formidable crosses and penchant for arriving on the edge of the box to pull the trigger have proved the bane of many teams in the Premier League.

It is for this reason, and the limitations going forward of United's Aaron Wan-Bissaka, that Alexander-Arnold gets the nod.  

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold also makes the cut due to his impressive attacking ability

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold also makes the cut due to his impressive attacking ability

CENTRE BACK

Harry Maguire

United captain Harry Maguire has recovered from a horror summer, and an England nightmare, to become a standout performer for United. 

He is ever present under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, leading vocally from the back and even contributing to attacks with surprisingly graceful forays into midfield.

It is no secret that United have struggled to break down teams who sit in a compact shape and remain deep, but Maguire's good passing ability aids their cause. 

His ability to read the game is also impressive and, despite the odd clumsy challenge, his straight line speed has not proved an issue. 

With Liverpool's first-choice central defenders fit, Maguire would face more of a fight to be named in this team, however.

Harry Maguire, the United captain, is also in and has been ever-present since joining in 2019

Harry Maguire, the United captain, is also in and has been ever-present since joining in 2019

CENTRE BACK

Victor Lindelof

Admittedly, this pick is a little more controversial. Victor Lindelof has attracted his fair share of criticism since joining United in 2017, and rightly so.

The Sweden international has been guilty of being bullied by a number of players over the years and his ability to rise highest and win headers is also questioned.

He does also possess several enviable characteristics, though. 

Lindelof's passing range is exquisite, with difficult angled balls to the flanks or nonchalant pings over the top made to look easy.

Like his usual partner Maguire, his knowledge of the game also shines through with his positioning and welcome knack of timing his challenges well.

Despite this, Virgil van Dijk would certainly have been picked ahead of him, although the Liverpool stalwart remains injured.

Victor Lindelof is usually Maguire's partner and has caught the eye with his fine passing range

Victor Lindelof is usually Maguire's partner and has caught the eye with his fine passing range

LEFT BACK

Luke Shaw 

What a stellar season this has been for Luke Shaw. Maligned by Jose Mourinho, it truly looked as though there would be no way back for the 25-year-old.

But suddenly, almost out of nowhere, Shaw has regained all of his confidence in one incredible burst - and his forays down the left have improved United tenfold.

Full backs racing up and down and getting chalk on their boots were a hallmark under Sir Alex Ferguson, and Shaw has summoned that back this term.

His spot at Euro

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