With this massive rivalry revisited this weekend, Talent Radar takes a look at a combined XI of the best young players in the two sides’ current squads.
While both Manchester United and Liverpool have had their fair share of youngsters from the academy breaking into the first team (some more so than others), this weekend’s fixture sees the first ever instance where neither side will have a local name in their team sheets. That is a poor reflection of both the sides, and the league as a whole.
Nevertheless, both have invested well in procuring talent their own academies weren’t capable of producing with both Louis van Gaal and Rodgers having some exciting talent in their ranks.
Note that the following XI has been created keeping in mind first team opportunities and appearances already made, while the formation has been positionally adjusted. Outfield players eligible are those 21 and under as of June 1st 2015, while goalkeepers 22 and under as of the same date were eligible to make the team. To know more about Talent Radar, head this way.
Defence: The Manchester United – Liverpool combined XI sees Man United’s Sam Johnstone in goal. The 22-year-old seemed like Van Gaal’s back-up keeping choice with the fiasco that took place this summer, but now may be relegated to a more reserve role. Liverpool’s new signing Joe Gomez, who has had a more than impressive start to the season, sees himself in the preferable central defence position; partnering him is Northern Irishman Paddy McNair who similarly impressed on debut in the previous campaign with the Red Devls.
United’s Luke Shaw went through an extensive fitness program this summer, and has started this campaign in flying form, he featured on the left side of the defence. Liverpool’s Jordon Ibe, though a winger by trade, has been deployed in the wing-back position previously and sees himself at full-back
Midfield: There’s a Liverpool combination in the heart of midfield with now full German international Emre Can partnered by academy graduate Jordan Rossiter. Ahead of them in the hole is 2014-15 Talent Radar Award winner, Memphis Depay. Rossiter has shown glimpses of his ability to sit calmly in midfield, which would work well with Can’s tendency to move into the box. Depay has been used out wide and upfront in the past with the attacking midfield role being arguably his weakest position. But the Dutch international certainly remains a candidate for that exact position under van Gaal’s plans.
Attack: A three man attacking line-up sees young James Wilson in a central role supported on either side by Manchester United’s surprise signing in Anthony Martial on the left and yet-to-debut Liverpool striker Divock Origi on the right. It remains to be seen how much game time any of these three get in the 2015-16 season, but Liverpool were quick to snap Origi last campaign while United have shown a signal of intent by spending big on 19-year-old Martial.