John Gibbons: Would any United player get in Liverpool’s team right now?

Pogba? Maybe, if he's bothered. Who else?

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Who suspected Danny Mills to be the break out star of Liverpool’s international break? Not me. that’s for sure. But that’s football for you, always keeps you on your toes.

Firstly Mills went on Talksport in a bobble hat under his headphones, which was quite the look, and questioned whether Jurgen Klopp only winning one trophy was enough in “almost five seasons”. Despite the fact that the only trophy handed out in his fifth season so far is the Super Cup, which Liverpool won but apparently doesn’t count, and that the one trophy Danny Mills is talking about just happens to be the European Cup, which is biggest one of all.

Certainly bigger than the League Cup, which is the solitary medal Danny has to show for his career.

But just when we were out, he pulled us back in by picking a “combined Liverpool and Manchester United XI” that consisted solely of Liverpool players. That’s right Danny lad, we’ve always liked you. Now there is a chance that the ex-Manchester City and Leeds United player is just looking to cause a bit of mischief, or play up to a fan base. But it is also possible that it simply reflects the current state of the football clubs.

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Combined XI’s are a funny thing. Without a manager or a defined style of play they normally just come down to whoever the picker enjoys watching more. They can also be political. The Liverpool Echo do a combined Liverpool and Everton XI every year and it is very amusing to see which Everton players they manage to crowbar in, despite the recent gulf between the teams. I’m fully expecting Phil Jagielka to make it again this season even though he left Everton this summer, he’s been so regularly stapled into the side.

But Danny Mills doesn’t have to worry about upsetting a chunk of a regional readership, or angry letters, so maybe he is just being honest? If you remove the names of the football teams and the rich traditions they hold, one squad is top of the league having won every game, and the other is in 12th, 15 points behind despite only 8 games played. A combined Liverpool and Bournemouth XI featuring all Liverpool players wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows, and Bournemouth are ahead of Manchester United in the table.

So where could the arguments be made for Manchester United players inclusion? Well, I don’t think even the most ardent Stretford-ender would pick one of their forwards ahead of Liverpool’s front three. In midfield it gets a bit more interesting, this is Liverpool’s slightly weaker area, relatively speaking, but Manchester United are hardly blessed with riches in that area currently. The only one who maybe interests you is Pogba, as technically he is the best of the group. But would he interest someone like Klopp? That’s the interesting question. Maybe the stability of Fabinho and the work rate of Wjinaldum would allow the Frenchman to flourish?

In defence the idea of picking Harry Maguire (most expensive defender in the world) over Joel Matip (least expensive defender in the world) certainly makes sense in theory, yet Matip has had an outstanding 2019, so why move a defender to the other side and break up a partnership that has done so well based on a transfer fee and good World Cup over a year ago? It feels too early in their Manchester United career for both him and Wan Bassaka, who is also a good defender, to argue against players who have been performing at the highest level for a much longer period. Again with the goalkeeper you feel you have to pick on form rather than reputation. And it is Alisson who holds the golden gloves.

So basically you are saying maybe Pogba if he fancied it, and maybe Wan Bassaka if you were going to the Nou Camp. I might be biased but I have also tried to be as generous as possible. It is just tough when one side are current European Champions and have a perfect record in the league, and the other side are this Manchester United team.

That means Liverpool should win easily at the weekend, yes? Well again, football always keeps you on your toes. Liverpool’s record at Old Trafford under Klopp is a poor one, with recent performances very disappointing. Especially last year when injuries during the game meant United should have been there for the taking, yet instead Liverpool seemed to get weaker and safer as the game went on. This time Liverpool need to make sure they play the opposition, not the name. The team who 1 – 11 they are better than. Just ask Danny Mills.

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