Coral’s brutal combined Man Utd – Liverpool Premier League era XI
The much-anticipated Manchester United (odds-on favourites at 4/5) v Liverpool (10/3) derby is almost upon us, so Coral writers have come up with a combined team of players from both sides in the Premier League era.
Given that the Red Devils have won a total of 13 top-flight titles in the modern era (since 1992/93), and the Merseysiders claiming none, this XI may reflect on that success.
Our team consists of arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time, a pair of iconic British Isles full backs, two centre halves who ended up in Italy, a ruthless general, a couple of legendary central midfield clubmen and three attackers who went on to represent Real Madrid.
Peter Schmeichel – Goalkeeper
Despite a shaky start to his Old Trafford career, ‘the Great Dane’ went on to become one of the greatest keepers in the world, and helped United to the famous treble in his last season with the club. Champions League hero in 2005 Jerzy Dudek and David de Gea were other options for the number one position in this team.
Gary Neville – Right back
By his own admission, Neville was never the most gifted player, but his 602 total appearances (sixth highest) for the Red Devils say it all in terms of his importance and consistency over the years. The 85-capped England international spent six seasons as club captain.
Jaap Stam – Centre back
Although the Dutchman spent only three campaigns with Man Utd, before reportedly being told he would be sold by Sir Alex Ferguson at a petrol station, he was vital to the club’s success over that period. Stam won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup, Champions League and Intercontinental Cup in his short spell, before heading off to Italy with Lazio and AC Milan.
Nemanja Vidic – Centre back
Another rock at the back for the Red Devils, Vidic thankfully stayed a lot longer than Stam at Old Trafford, skippering them for three years, before leaving on a free transfer to Inter Milan last summer. Five Premier League trophies, a Champions League and three League Cups are among the titles the Serb won with United.
Denis Irwin – Left back
Diminutive Republic of Ireland defender Irwin quietly went about his work, but is arguably the best left back the Premier League has seen. The right-footed player won 19 trophies and made 529 appearances throughout his Man Utd career.
Roy Keane (captain) – Defensive midfield
Love him or hate him, you certainly wouldn’t want Keane on the other team to you. His no-nonsense tackling and organisation make him one of the best to ever play in his position. High-profile fall-outs with the likes of Ferguson and then Irish national boss Mick McCarthy threatened to overshadow his distinguished career, but he captains our team.
Steven Gerrard – Central midfield
Liverpool’s own captain fantastic Gerrard is the first from his team to make our XI, and he thoroughly deserves his place having helped his boyhood club to 10 honours to date. He may not be the box-to-box player of old, but is the only current star who plies his trade for both sides. Gerrard, 34, is 10/3 to score anytime against Man Utd.
Paul Scholes – Central midfield
Scholes was so important to the Red Devils, that he was called upon to come out of retirement in January 2012 for another year-and-a half, despite being in his late 30s. One of the most underrated players of all time, Barcelona club captain Xavi even credits Scholes, who won 25 trophies and made 718 appearances with United, as one of his heroes.
Steve McManaman – Right wing
Former Liverpool flying winger McManaman was ahead of his time in terms of style on the pitch, and he was perhaps not lauded quite highly enough in England, gaining just 37 caps. His controversial free transfer to Real Madrid was perhaps the reason, but he became a Los Blancos fan-favourite after his spectacular volley in the 2000 Champions League final.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Left wing
Current Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo also claimed the accolade whilst at United in 2008, and is quite possibly the best player of this team, which says a lot, and even of all time. After winning nine trophies with the Red Devils, his career somehow sky-rocketed further in Spain, where he is already approaching 300 goals from fewer games player for Real Madrid.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – Striker
It was a three-way battle between Van Nistelrooy, Michael Owen and Eric Cantona, but the Dutchman just edges it due his prolific scoring record for Man Utd. In three of his five seasons at Old Trafford, he managed to smash in 30 or more goals, even getting 44 in 2002/03. Another whose performances in England earned him a move to Real Madrid.