Jurgen Klopp takes his side to Old Trafford on Sunday to face Jose Mourinho in the day’s late game.
Manchester United host Liverpool on Sunday with Jurgen Klopp’s side five points and four places ahead of their rivals in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho broke the world transfer record during the summer to bring in Paul Pogba from Juventus, but it has been Liverpool’s players who have hit the ground running.
Klopp’s side have lost just two league games all season, the joint fewest in the top flight, and are also the table’s top scorers with 48 goals from their 20 games.
So, despite United’s huge outlay in the summer, do Liverpool have a superior squad?
Here, MirrorSport compares the two sets of players…
This is the one area of the pitch where there is little contest. David De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, let alone these two squads. Both Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have failed to convince when given a run of games by Klopp. Even United’s second choice, Sergio Romero, would start for Liverpool.
Best goalkeeper: De Gea.
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On paper, the battle for the best left-back should be, well, no battle at all. Ageing central midfielder James Milner against young, talented, £27million-man Luke Shaw. And you’d be right in thinking there’s no contest, because Milner is streets ahead of Shaw. In fact, Shaw has been so unimpressive that Mourinho has opted to play Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian there instead. I’d still have Milner, though, who has shown that tactical awareness and hard graft can make up for a lack of positional experience.
At right-back, too, Nathaniel Clyne is, and has been all season, superior to his competitors at United. In the centre, Eric Bailly is the best option from the two squads while Phil Jones has improved dramatically in recent months. So too, though has the partnership formed by Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren.
In terms of centre-halves, these squads are pretty even, both Liverpool’s full-backs add a dimension to their team that has been lacking from United this season.
Best back four: Clyne, Bailly, Lovren, Milner.
Both squads boast some of the world’s best midfielders, even if they are a little top heavy. Between the two sets of players there are at least eight individuals who would define themselves as No.10s. All of them good, all of them would be starters at clubs outside the top six.
Looking at the base of the midfield, putting in the hard yards, you have Jordan Henderson, Marouane Fellaini, Emre Can and Michael Carrick. Carrick’s form has been excellent this season and for that reason you’d take him over the other three despite the lack of athleticism. Paul Pogba is improving with every game and, while he may struggle to ever convince his doubters he is worth £89million (is anyone worth £89million?), the Frenchman is showing why he had his pick of Europe’s big clubs during the summer.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata have all been excellent this season, but they still lag behind Liverpool’s attacking midfielders. Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have all been outstanding under Jurgen Klopp, and it is their on-field relationship as well as their talent that sets them apart from their rivals.
Best midfield: Carrick, Pogba, Coutinho, Lallana, Mane.
The versatility of Liverpool’s attacking midfielders has meant there has been little room for Daniel Sturridge of Divock Origi to build up a run of games. Both have done well with the limited chances they have been given but Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been arguably the league’s best striker this season, scoring 18 times in 28 appearances. Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford provide excellent cover for the former PSG captain.
Best striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
While there is relative parity between the two squads, Liverpool edge it. Jurgen Klopp’s side have played the most impressive football in the Premier League this season. That’s down to tactics, but it’s also a result of having a well-balanced squad whose members’ qualities compliment each other.
Best XI: De Gea; Clyne, Bailly, Lovren, Milner; Carrick, Pogba, Coutinho, Lallana, Mane; Ibrahimovic.
Best bench: Romero, Blind, Matip, Henderson, Herrera, Firmino, Mkhitaryan, Sturridge.