John Barnes picked Liverpool's line-up when asked for combined Man Utd XI


The Premier League's two biggest clubs are ready for battle on Sunday afternoon.

While their golden eras never truly overlapped, Liverpool and Manchester United have always been fired up for their high-profile collisions as the two most successful clubs in English football history.

Now, the Reds were well on course to draw back level with United - over whom they have a 27-point lead - on 20 league titles by securing their maiden Premier League trophy.

The Reds have made the greatest start of any club in Europe's top five leagues, but what makes this latest clash so exciting is that United are the only team to take points off them.

If it wasn't for Adam Lallana's strike during the dying embers at Old Trafford, United would have secured themselves a victory and ended any talk of Liverpool going the season unbeaten.

Liverpool vs Man Utd

Plus, the Red Devils have shown their capacity to perform in big games with the 2-1 win at Manchester City and three points against Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur.

So, there's plenty to play for and like with any big game in the Premier League, it's sparked a debate about what a combined XI of the two clubs would look like.

In most instances, the split between teams is pretty even, but power has slowly been shifting to Liverpool ever since BBC Sport readers only included Paul Pogba from United back in 2018.


John Barnes' combined XI

And it seems as though things have tipped even more in Liverpool's favour when you consider the XI that club legend John Barnes proposed this week, per Daily Mail.

You can probably imagine where we're going with this... but check out our breakdown to appreciate the hilarity in full:


David de Gea has been in torrid form for United this season, so demoting him behind the man who won the Premier League and Copa America Golden Gloves last season is an absolute no-brainer.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League


There can be no questioning the full-back positions when you consider Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are the best in the world on current form.

Virgil van Dijk also strolls into the team as the sport's best defender and a Ballon d'Or runner-up, while Joe Gomez gets the nod over Harry Maguire in by far the most contentious pick.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool FC - Premier League


This was the only area where United had any success during the 2018 vote, but Paul Pogba's absence makes Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum look like a pretty safe bet.

SSC Napoli v Liverpool FC: Group E - UEFA Champions League


A statistic went viral this week that Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial have actually scored more cumulative goals in all competitions than Liverpool's front three.

But there's no doubting which trio have the better chemistry and the Premier League table suggests Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane is the correct pick for Barnes.


John Barnes' full XI


GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

Should we be surprised by this XI when Liverpool are one of the best teams in Premier League history and United are the worst, modern versions of themselves? 

The answer is 'no' if you were wondering and I would make just one alteration to Barnes' all-Liverpool XI.

And it's not bringing Maguire into centre-back. The decision would be more clearcut if Joel Matip was available and I actually believe the United man is the more talented defender on his day.

But his form this season simply hasn't matched his Leicester City standards and on what logic could I possibly ejected Gomez when he hasn't conceded a goal in 540(!?) minutes of league football?


My one change would actually come in attack and it's the introduction of Rashford for Firmino.

Would Mane-Rashford-Salah function better than the current version? Of course not, but I'm making my choice on isolated quality here and Rashford is having a better individual season than Firmino.

I can't ignore the fact that Rashford has scored more than double the amount of goals despite playing in a far weakened United, even if Firmino brings qualities that the United man doesn't.

But Liverpool fans, don't despair in my compromise, just remember that 'the perch' is once again yours and I'm merely allowing United to dangle from its base by a single talon.