Manchester United and Liverpool are the two biggest clubs in the Premier League.
One might be chasing Manchester City’s points record and the other scrambling for a Champions League place, but there’s no denying that the two north-west giants are the biggest in stature.
As we mentioned, though, the power in the region currently lies at Anfield with Jurgen Klopp having reaped a maiden Premier League trophy for the Merseysiders.
2012/13 Man Utd vs 2019/20 Liverpool
However, we all know that deciding the Premier League’s greatest champions isn’t simply a case of looking at points totals, because that’s subject to countless variable and circumstances.
So, enough with the headline figures, we’ve decided to make a closer comparison of Liverpool’s current champions and the last United team to claim the trophy in the 2012/13 campaign.
Statistical combined XI
We’ve completely removed bias by creating a combined XI of the two teams statistically, using average match ratings from WhoScored.com that are made up from more than 20 data-sets.
In other words, it’s just about the most objective way you can possibly contrast the two teams and you might be surprised to learn that Liverpool’s would-be-centurions don’t absolutely dominate.
Check out the full team below with SEVEN – yes, seven – United players making the cut:
GK – David de Gea (6.86)
Ermmmm… well, this is an interesting start. The fact De Gea wasn’t the best goalkeeper in the world in 2013 – that title goes to Manuel Neuer – but Alisson is at present makes this a bizarre choice.
That’s not to mention the fact Alisson already has 13 clean sheets this season despite multiple injury lay-offs and De Gea only managed 11 throughout the entirety of the 2012/13 campaign.
RB – Rafael (7.36)
Oh dear god. Arguing with the stats is a little bit like shouting at a mountain range, but Rafael only managed three assists and eight clean sheets compared to Alexander-Arnold’s 12 assists and 12 shutouts.
CB – Virgil van Dijk (7.39)
Christ, thank god the statistics aren’t completely off the rails. Van Dijk is an absolute no-brainer in this team as the closest a Premier League defender has ever come to winning the Ballon d’Or.
CB – Nemanja Vidic (7.39)
As much as we think Joel Matip and Joe Gomez have been underrated this season, let’s not pretend as though they can possibly hold a candle to Vidic in the midst of a title-winning year.
LB – Patrice Evra (7.31)
No controversy was too much to ask, wasn’t it?
But as much as people would automatically pick Robertson here, it’s actually a closer-fought affair than you might imagine with Evra racking up more clean sheets (10 vs 9) as well as goals (4 vs 1).
Then again, Robertson still has four games of the season to play and his total of nine assists completely overwhelms the five that Evra managed.
CM – Jordan Henderson (7.15)
There are people in this world that think Henderson being one of the favourites for the PFA Player of the Year award is complete nonsense. Allow the stats to prove them wrong and rightfully so.
CM – Michael Carrick (7.09)
Carrick over Fabinho. An interesting and tough call.
Carrick’s best days at Old Trafford were behind him by the time he won his final Premier League crown, but he did manage more goal contributions than Fabinho during the seasons in question.
CAM – Wayne Rooney (7.27)
Twelve goals and 10 assists was by no means a vintage season for Rooney, though not bad by any means, so this selection feels like more of a slight on Liverpool than any major praise for him.
We’ll take United and England’s record goalscorer over Georginio Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain any day of the week.
RW – Mohamed Salah (7.49)
If it wasn’t already apparent that Salah is on a hell-bent mission to win a third consecutive Premier League Golden Boot, then it certainly was in the final 10 minutes of Brighton vs Liverpool this week.
The Egyptian is once again doing everything in his power to become the greatest goalscorer in the land and the stats suggest he’s done a pretty good job so far. Thoroughly deserves his place.
ST – Robin van Persie (7.71)
You can tell us how integral Roberto Firmino is to Liverpool’s front three until you’re blue in the face, but the Brazilian hasn’t scored a single league at Anfield this season and that’s not good enough.
Van Persie, on the other hand, just happened to propel the Red Devils to a 20th league crown by finding the net on 26 occasions, which is more than double Firmino’s tally.
LW – Sadio Mane (7.44)
Yeh, no arguments from us here. Mane has arguably been Liverpool’s best player this season and he’s only got a two-goal Danny Welbeck and largely-benched Javier Hernandez to compete with.
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
Look, I know my football, but I’m not a walking calculator that counts every pass, dribble and shot when I watch games, so I’m not sure I can take on WhoScored.com. That being said, I have some notes.
As far as my statistics are concerned – in other words, my opinion – there’s no chance that so many United players are getting in the team because, simply put, they weren’t all that dominant in 2012/13.
Winning the league is never unimpressive, but there’s a stark difference between a campaign of 89 points with five losses and having 92 points and 30 victories with four games still to play.
Soooo… I’ve got to swap out De Gea, who wasn’t quite at his peak in 2012/13, for Alisson and there’s not a Van Persie-at-the-Emirates’ chance that I’m picking Rafael over Alexander-Arnold.
A past-his-best Evra can make way for Robertson, Carrick can kindly pass the baton to Fabinho and we even think we’re being kind in keeping Rooney in the midfield.
So, my personal XI would go as follows: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Vidic, Van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Rooney, Salah, Van Persie and Mane.
And on that note, I’m off to argue with my calculator and the field of mathematics itself…
- The all-time Champions League table
- Van Dijk’s stunning piece of skill vs Brighton
- Salah showed a champion’s mindset vs Brighton