They won two FA Cups, three League Cups and one Champions League together, but Jamie Carragher couldn’t find room for Steven Gerrard in his all-time Liverpool and Manchester United combined XI.
The two English giants meet for the first time in European competition in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday evening and Carragher, who was no stranger to the Liverpool v Manchester United rivalry, has picked his all-time composite team.
The former Liverpool defender played 17 seasons for the Reds and the exclusion of Gerrard will shock many. Check out Carragher’s team by scrolling down the page.
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It just goes to show the number of stars that have passed through Anfield and Old Trafford that players of Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez’s talents don’t get a mention in Carragher’s team.
Of course, he picked more Liverpool players than United.
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The Daily Mail columnist opted for a centre-back pairing of Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen, excluding the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
“I was agonising over my second centre half alongside Alan Hansen,” he wrote.
“It came down to Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Emlyn Hughes or Mark Lawrenson… seeing as I couldn’t pick myself!
“Rio’s too similar to Hansen and despite Vidic always being a very tough opponent of mine, I went for Lawro, which made it six Liverpool players to United’s five!”
One senses a hint of bias in Carragher’s selections.
Phil Neal gets the nod ahead at right back ahead of Manchester United legend Gary Neville because Carragher “couldn’t pick Gary Neville at right back!”
The current Valencia boss is widely regarded as the finest right back in the Premier League era, but the fact that he regularly overcame Carragher’s Liverpool during his playing days might explain the Sky Sports pundit’s decision to leave him out.
Denis Irwin was selected at left back because “Liverpool have never really had a great left back,” but it’s Carragher’s centre midfield pairing that throws up the biggest debate.
Gerrard, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes are all excluded at the expense of Bobby Charlton and Graeme Souness.
“Bobby Charlton is the greatest English player of all time and takes the attacking midfield role, with Graeme Souness the more defensive one because of his passing as well as his aggression,” Carragher added.
“And that means two of my favourite players — Roy Keane and even my old mate Steven Gerrard — miss out.”
It’ll be interesting to hear what Gerrard has to say about that.
Yet Souness’ inclusion will come as no surprise to those who read Carragher’s Q&A with the Daily Mail.
He heaped praise on the former Liverpool midfielder and said he would be worth up to £60 million in today’s market.
“Graeme Souness,” Carragher replied when asked which Liverpool hero he would have liked to play with.
He continued: “Everyone raves about Kenny Dalglish and rightly so. I have seen videos and different clips but my dad, who has a decent knowledge of football, always says Souness was the best player he had ever seen.”
When asked how much Souness would be today, Carragher said: “Around £50-60million. When you ask Liverpool fans who the best ever player was, they all say Dalglish. When you ask the players who played in that great team, they all say Souness. I think that's telling.
“Roy Keane was a great midfielder despite playing for Manchester United but I think Souness was slightly better in that role.”