As a huge clash between Liverpool and Chelsea comes up, let’s take a look at a possible combined XI. Seeing that Liverpool won the league in record time, there might be a ‘slight’ disproportion of the Reds’ players.
However there might be some surprises here:
Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker
With 55 saves, only 18 goals conceded and 13 clean-sheets, the Brazillian is clear of Kepa Arrizabalaga. Overlooking the error against Arsenal, he has been great in between the sticks this season. This is an easy choice.
This part is as easy as it comes. Chelsea’s defence has been atrocious this season. They have conceded 49 goals in the league this season, just 4 less than the dreaded 2015/16 season, where they finished 10th. Often rocky and unpredictable, it is a stark contrast from the Liverpool defence which has been solid all season. All 4 of these Liverpool defenders have been brilliant this season, the center-backs being solid and the full backs, perfect in transition from defence to attack.
Midfield: Jordan Henderson, N’Golo Kante (if he plays), Mateo Kovacic
This was a little more challenging with the likes of Georgio Wijnaldum and Mason Mount missing out. Jordan Henderson has been in the Player of the Year conversation and while he may not be on the same level of Kevin De Bruyne, he has been simply brilliant. The engine and heart of this Liverpool team, Henderson has evolved into a true leader and a crucial player and has been lauded by Steven Gerrard himself.
N’Golo Kante had an on and off start to the season but has shown just how important he is as a sole defensive midfielder, in Frank Lampard’s system. From quite a few fans doubting him and wondering whether he should be sold, Kante has become an irreplaceable part of this Chelsea team.The only thing left to be seen is whether he plays, seeing that he is currently injured.
In stark contrast to this, a man who has had the complete opposite season graph, is Mateo Kovacic. He has been simply phenomenal, jinking and dancing through opposition presses and regulating play in the midfield. Criminally underrated, there are not many players in the Premier League better at transitioning from defence to attack. While some have called Willian Chelsea’s player of the season, anybody who has watched Chelsea consistently knows that Kovacic has been their undisputed player of the season.
Attack: Mohammed Salah, Olivier Giroud, Sadio Mane
Being a Chelsea fan, leaving Christian Pulisic out of this team, physically pains me.However there is no way he makes it in over Mane and playing Salah striker would disrupt the balance of the front line.
Some may call for my head for the inclusion of Giroud over Firmino, but Giroud has been unbelievable since the restart and would be an important part of the team. Having world class hold-up play, great aerial presence and good finishing, he is a great player who can get the best out of the wingers and even midfielders around him.
Salah and Mane were always going to make it into this team and their combined 36 goals and 16 assists in the league speak for themselves.
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