While Manchester United and Liverpool prepare for battle in this weekend's huge Barclays Premier League match, I have taken the opportunity to produce my combined team from the two squads.
Selection is based upon a few key indicators: 1). On the form of players from the past 18 months. 2). On the presumption that every player is fit and available to play and 3). That the team will be playing a real match (so team balance is important).
Goalkeeper: David De Gea (MUN)
RB: Matteo Darmian (MUN) CB: Chris Smalling (MUN) CB: Martin Skrtel (LIV) LB: Luke Shaw (MUN)
CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger (MUN) CM: Jordan Henderson (LIV)
CM: Ander Herrera (MUN)
RW: Juan Mata (MUN) ST: Daniel Sturridge (LIV) LW: Philippe Coutinho (LIV)
GK: The easiest decision to make. While Simon Mignolet is a capable goalkeeper he is simply not on the same level as David De Gea. Over the past 18 months De Gea has established himself as one of the three best 'keepers in the world.
DEF: The right-back position was one of the hardest to pick for the team. Both Matteo Darmian and Nathaniel Clyne are very good defenders, but Darmian gets the nod from having more international experience.
Central defence was relatively straight-forward. Chris Smalling has established himself as Manchester United's best centre-back, while Martin Skrtel has been a constant in Liverpool's back four. Daley Blind is still making his way in the position and has not had enough time to impress. Dejan Lovren has too many errors in his game to be in serious contention, and all other central defenders have not received enough game time.
MID: Despite beginning the season unfit there is little doubt over the quality of Bastian Schweinsteiger. A match-fit Schweinsteiger is in contention with the best central midfielders in the game. On this reasoning he edges both Lucas Leiva and Michael Carrick for the more defensively minded midfield role in the side.
Playing alongside Schweinsteiger is Jordan Henderson. Henderson would provide boundless energy and quality in a box-to-box midfield role. His impressive form over the past 18 months for Liverpool in this role is enough to see him get the nod over Morgan Schneiderlin and James Milner.
Ander Herrera at the point of this trio completes a well-rounded midfield. Herrera's attacking quality complements the strengths of the two players behind him. Despite Louis Van Gaal not playing him as often as expected this season, there is not much doubt among Manchester United supporters that Herrera is the teams best attacking midfielder.
FWD: Three obvious choices for the final three positions. Juan Mata has done a good job for United on the right wing (including a Man of the Match performance against Liverpool at Anfield last season). He is a top player and is clearly ahead of other options Antonio Valencia, Adam Lallana and Jordan Ibe for this role.
Despite Daniel Sturridge being unable to stay fit, we have seen the quality he possesses. Wayne Rooney has been in average form for a long time now and although Christian Benteke performed well for Aston Villa, there is little doubt that a fully-fit Sturridge is one of the best strikers in the EPL.
Flanking Sturridge on the left is Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho is a dynamic play-maker and currently Liverpool's best player. Over the past 18 months the Brazilian has added the ability to cut-in and score long-range efforts to his game. He keeps out compatriot Roberto Firmino and young United player Memphis Depay. Both men are yet to showcase any form that comes close to the level of Coutinho in the Premier League.
Do you agree/disagree with my selection? What changes would you make? Leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @ZDwyer2.