Two cities that play host to a couple of the most fierce derbies in England and a pair of cities that is forever locking horns with each other, it the city of Manchester and the city of Liverpool. Home to four of the strongest sides that England has to offer, each with a red side of town and a blue side of town, and a rivalry circle that is almost unrivaled around the world. This week the Premier League will witness the blues of each city and the reds of each city square off. Everton v. Manchester City and Manchester United v. Liverpool. They all sit 7th, 4th, 6th, and 2nd in the table respectively. With these crucial matchups coming up in the league, I’ve assembled a best XI consisting of all 4 teams. I’ve decided on a 4-3-3 formation and three bench players. One more note before revealing this all star team of an XI, I want to give another thanks to you the reader for checking out this piece. The Mixer XI is a new series I’m starting and I’m glad to be writing three different variations of articles here on My Mixer. So thank you once again the reader for sticking with me thus far. Without any further ado, here’s my Manchester v. Merseyside XI.
LB- James Milner (Liverpool). Life long midfielder, adjusting to a completely new position and playing it like he’s been one of the best in England for years. Milner’s versatility and effort along with his effectiveness gets him on the bench for this side.
ST- Romelu Lukaku (Everton). The only Everton player on the side, Everton sit in 7th and are a distant 9 points away from the top 6. It appears Ronald Koeman’s side is going to lead the rest of the league apart from the top 6. That’s the most Everton can do, and it’s the most Lukaku can do for this year. A move away from the blue side of Merseyside looms, the possible heir to Zlatan in Manchester?
LM- Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City). Yeah sorry, I couldn’t find space on the side for City’s best player. He is absolutely a monster but where can I put him on here? The Belgian beast will have to settle for sub appearances on this team.
GK- David De Gea (Manchester Utd). It was either him or Simon Mignolet (yuck). Besides, De Gea is undoubtedly world class and Real Madrid salivate at his highlight videos. Perhaps the best keeper in the Premier League will be the backstop to this team. So much competition from Mignolet, Bravo and Stekelenburg amirite? Stekelenburg is hurt anyways.
LB- Daley Blind (Manchester Utd). Mourinho’s streak has proven something. United has always had the pieces, from Moyes to Van Gaal to the present. The talent has always been present and it took a change in culture to turn it around for the Red Devils. Blind is an example of a player who’s been here, and is finding success through the change in culture.
CB- Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City). He’s not quite the pass it out the back center half that Pep craves. His defense of John Stones’ mistakes (who apparently is Pep’s ideal center back) is something of note. Otamendi is a tough tackler and is a great defender. Best center back out of these four teams at least.
CB- Phil Jones (Manchester Utd). Talk about change in culture. Who would’ve thought Phil Jones would be the preferred defender in Mourinho’s back four. Besides Bailly that is, who’s hurt and would probably go to the Africa Cup of Nations anyway. Jones has been a rock.
RB- Antonio Valencia (Manchester Utd). His powerful runs are more valuable then Sagna’s dribbling skill and more valuable then Coleman’s crosses. He’s just the best out of the four offered honestly.
CDM- Jordan Henderson (Liverpool). God I hope he plays against United on Sunday. He has been a rock in support for the back four, the best he can in Klopp’s heavy metal football style that leaves his defense open to counter attacks and lack of numbers defending. He adds to the heavy tempo of Liverpool and brings the pressure to every defensive formation in his way. Chelsea has seen the nightmare.
CM-Paul Pogba (Manchester Utd). I assure you, even though many question his price tag, Pogba is one of the best players that walk the Earth. He is the key that United uses to unlock defenses in all competitions, he plays every. single. game. every. single. minute. His skill, lethal long shots, and vision for goal setting passes puts him above most.
CAM- Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool). God I hope he plays against United on Sunday. Just like Jordan Henderson, he is absolutely key to the Liverpool midfield where it’s best with Coutinho at No.10 and Firmino to the left, Mane to the right and Origi up front. Coutinho unlocks every defense, whether it’s with skill on the ball, his key passing, or his deadly long shots.
LW- Roberto Firmino (Liverpool). I chose the terrific Brazilian duo of Merseyside instead of the clever De Bruyne, Silva combination of City. Why? The table, that’s why. Plus, Firmino was highly used in attacking City down the flanks on New Years Eve. Ain’t no Martial gonna kick Firmino off the left here either.
RW- Sadio Mane (Liverpool). The attack is loaded with Reds because they attack the best. Attacking down the flanks is what Liverpool craves and Mane is dangerous with the ball at his feet. He takes it down your throat with clever skill and dribbling, knifing passes and lethal finishing. The best these two teams have to offer.
ST- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester Utd). The ruler up top for these sides surely, must be King Zlatan. At 35, he has been owning the Premier League with his style of play that he’s taken everywhere. The lethal hold up striker he sets up his pacey teammates on the flank and is a killer in the box. As he said he’d be, he is one of the best in England even at his staggering age.