Combined 2014/15 XI's: Manchester United vs Liverpool

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We compare the starting line-ups of Manchester United and Liverpool for this Premier League season.

With the summer transfer window closed, we analyse the strengths of some of the Premier League's biggest clubs now their business has been completed. In this piece we take a look at two sides who had very busy summers and will be hunting a place in the top four - Manchester United and Liverpool. 

(4-1-2-1-2)

Goalkeeper: David De Gea vs Simon Mignolet 

David De Gea is arguably the finest stopper in the Premier League and it was noticeable that for all United's summer spending there was no talk of a new goalkeeper coming in to usurp him. Mignolet is a decent top-level stopper, but he isn't a world-class one like De Gea is and, with the Spaniard being so young, he looks set to monopolise the Red Devil's number one shirt for some time yet. 

Left-back: Luke Shaw vs Alberto Moreno

A very intriguing battle, the two full-backs share similar qualities and are both set for excellent careers. Energetic, pacey and strong the duo are blessed with all the requisite skills demanded in a modern day football, but Shaw's experience of the Premier League gives him the edge. The 19-year-old looks a true star and is one of the best youngsters in the division. That said, Moreno does represent a better value-for-money transfer. 

Centre-back: Marcos Rojo vs Dejan Lovren

Marcos Rojo remains a surprising addition at Old Trafford, given he was touted as one of Argentina's weak-links before the World Cup. His performances during the tournament proved that opinion wrong, but he still wasn't the high profile recruit many were hoping would plug the leaks in United's defence. Lovren, on the other hand, looks a superb addition from Rodgers and has established himself as one of the finest centre-backs in England. 

Centre-back: Jonny Evans vs Martin Skrtel

Evans may be a decent option to have in defence, but he isn't quite up to the quality required to dislodge Skrtel in the team. There are few areas of defending that Evans can boast to be better at than the Liverpool man and, as a result, he loses this battle. 

Right-back: Rafael vs Javier Manquillo

Arguably the weakest area of either side now, neither United or Liverpool have a right-back which can be considered as genuinely world-class. Rafael has his moments, but is generally erratic in his defending and doesn't appear a reliable choice, whilst Manquillo is fairly untested in the professional game. That said, what he has shown so far has been impressive and he looks a more trusty full-back than the Brazilian at Old Trafford. 

Defensive midfield: Daley Blind vs Steven Gerrard

Manchester United's deadline day signing may be a good addition, but he still has a long way to go if he is to reach Gerrard's standard. The Liverpool legend plays a crucial role in the side, dictating the play from a deep-lying role and, although he doesn't have the energy he once did in his youth-days, he is still one of the Reds most pivotal players. 

Central-midfield: Angel Di Maria vs Adam Lallana

A no-contest. Di Maria is one of the world's finest players and whilst Lallana has shown himself to be a useful performer he simply cannot be compared to the Argentine. Brought in for £60 million this summer, Di Maria will be under pressure to perform at Old Trafford, but he has all the skills required to make him a major success. 

Central-midfield: Ander Herrera vs Jordan Henderson

There was a time that the £20 million that Liverpool paid to acquire Jordan Henderson was heavily scrutinised, but it is beginning to look a bargain. The England international is one of the most complete midfielders in the Premier League and is able to provide defensive solidarity alongside attacking energy. Whilst Herrera also is a talented individual, Henderson's greater physicality and knowledge of the Premier League gives him a slight edge at the moment. 

Attacking midfield: Wayne Rooney vs Raheem Sterling

There was once a time when Wayne Rooney showed many of the characteristics that Sterling does at the moment. The Liverpool starlet is fearless, unrelenting and direct and shows no sign of being overawed at whatever challenge is put in-front of him. They were the exact attributes that made Rooney such a prospect as a barrel-chested teenager and, although he is still a world-star, there is a sense of what might have been with the 28-year-old. As his career has progressed, Rooney seems to have lost a little spark. A once fiery teenager has mellowed and his play, as a result, arguably hasn't been improved. Sterling, on the other hand, is proving himself to be one of the most exciting prospects on the planet and the 19-year-old already seems to have more impact that Rooney on the pitch. 

Striker: Falcao vs Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge's 21 goals in last season's Premier League was only bettered by Luis Suarez but, even a striker has gifted as him, cannot hope to beat Falcao to a spot in this time. The Colombian is arguably the best out-and-out centre-forward in the world with his pace, power and skill a threat to every defence. A complete forward, Falcao has the ability to be the main man in the Red Devil's imminent attempt at a resurgence up the Premier League table. 

Striker: Robin Van Persie vs Mario Balotelli

Balotelli's addition at Liverpool remains one of the most intriguing buys of the transfer window, but he is still an unharnessed talent rather than the refined star that Van Persie is. The Dutchman is the most accomplished finisher in England and he return to fitness will be as big a boost as any singing can offer to United. 

Overall: Manchester United 5 vs 6 Liverpool

It's a close call, but Liverpool still have the ability to finish above United in the table. The Red Devils may have the more notable stars, but the Reds' squad looks less imbalanced and there appears to be greater strength in depth. Still, Louis Van Gaal's men have closed the gap considerably after the summer transfer window and it shows the investment that was needed to make them a force again.  

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