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Comparing Manchester United’s and Liverpool’s greatest XIs of 2000-2017

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4.79K   //    21 Dec 2017, 11:39 IST

Manchester United players reveling in moment after winning the 2008 Champions League. Image courtesy Daily Star
Manchester United players revelling in the moment after winning the 2008 Champions League. Image courtesy Daily Star

To millions of fans, England is the home of football. And in the most exciting league in the world (according to many Premier League enthusiasts), Manchester United and Liverpool are the most successful teams. They have a combined 38 league titles and eight Champions league trophies. 

But right before the turn of the millennium, Liverpool were outrightly the team to have won the most significant trophies in England. Yet, between the year 2000 and 2017, Manchester United pulled level with Liverpool and are debatably the most successful club side in England. 

Liverpool playing and non-playing staff celebrating the club's 2005 Champions League triumph. Image courtesy Sportskeeda
Liverpool playing and non-playing staff celebrating the club's 2005 Champions League triumph in Istanbul

Thus, to continue to match and surpass each other, both Manchester United and Liverpool have – over the course of 18 years – signed remarkable, game-changing playing personnel. 

However, because there is always the issue of who is the best between these two legendary sides – which has resulted in an intense rivalry between the Red Devils and the Reds – it is worth comparing their greatest XIs between the years 2000 and 2017.


Formations

Manchester United FC- 4-3-3

Liverpool FC- 4-2-2-2

Goalkeepers

Manchester United – Edwin van der Sar

van der Sar kissing the Champions League trophy. Image courtesy BT Sport
van der Sar kissing the Champions League trophy. Image courtesy BT Sport

You would think that when Juventus sold van der Sar to Fulham, his time at the top of the game had ended. That wasn’t the case though. After four years at Craven Cottage, and after incompetent performances from Fabian Barthez, Roy Caroll, and Tim Howard, van der Sar was brought in by Sir Alex Ferguson to provide the United backline with a safe pair of hands.

Tall, imposing, and with sharp reflexes, the Dutchman pulled series of gravity-defying saves to ensure Manchester United continued to remain arguably the best team in England. The highlight of his Manchester United came in the 2008 Champions League final where he was named the Man of the Match.

Rating = 8.5

Special Mention: David De Gea


Liverpool – Jerzy Dudek

Jerzy Dudek saving Andriy Shevchenko's penalty. Image courtesy talkSPORT
Jerzy Dudek saving Andriy Shevchenko's penalty

The miracle of Istanbul will forever be a part of the football folklore. What many didn’t realise, however, was that the comeback would never have resulted in a trophy had it not been for Jerzy Dudek’s exceptional performance. When the game was evenly poised at 3-3, Serginho whipped in a wicked crossed to Shevchenko and Dudek pulled two terrific saves.

First, he kept out Shevchenko’s header, but the ball fell back to the Milan striker. However, with cat-like reflexes, Dudek saved from the followup shot from less than three yards out. He went on to keep out Pirlo's and Shevchenko’s penalty kicks to hand Liverpool their first Champions League trophy in 21 years (last won in 1984). 

Also, he was so impressive for Liverpool in 2001 that he (along with Kahn and Buffon) earned a nomination for the 2001 UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Rating = 6.5

Special Mention: Pepe Reina.


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