Ahead of the crunch Premier League match at the weekend, we have decided to take on the challenge of choosing a combined team compromising of players from Liverpool and Chelsea.
How many Reds will make the cut? Let’s find out…
Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois has to get the nod here. He’s Belgium’s number one ahead of Liverpool number one Simon Mignolet and with good reason. The big keeper is one of the best in both the country and the continent. He cut his teeth during a fine loan spell with Atletico Madrid and has carried his form and development into his time at Stamford Bridge. Would be fantastic if Liverpool had a goalkeeper as consistent and imperious as he is.
The first name on the list is that of Chelsea’s versatile César Azpilicueta. The Spain international is capable of playing as a full-back, on either side, as well as part of a back three. He has an eye for an assist and is a rock solid defender. There are few on his level in the Premier League and he walks into this side at right-back.
On the other side of the defence the choice is between two more Spain internationals – but these two do their best work in attack. Alberto Moreno had made a fine start to the campaign, but his woeful second half against former club Sevilla highlighted that he is not over the troubles of his first three seasons at Anfield. Marcos Alonso gets the spot ahead of his compatriot thanks to being more steady and also due to his eye for goal. While more comfortable as a wing-back, the former Sunderland loanee is reliable enough in a back four.
Liverpool get a player in the side with Joel Matip claiming one of the central defensive berths ahead of England international Gary Cahill. The former Cameroon international is his side’s best defender and is often let down by the car crashes happening around him. While not a stranger to making a bad decision, his ability on the ball and aerial presence see him sneak in ahead of the former Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers man.
Alongside Matip, I am going to opt for Brazil international David Luiz. While he’s never been the most convincing of defenders, he has improved during his second spell at Chelsea and he always has the ability to pop up with a goal.
France international N’Golo Kante is the first name on the teamsheet in this position. The former Leicester City man has been a revelation since arriving in the Premier League in the Summer of 2015. He has won the title with two different clubs in his first two campaigns here and is the best defensive midfielder in the league, if not the continent. Does what he does with no fuss and can offer some valuable assistance going forward to. How Liverpool could do with a player like him.
I am going to pick both Philippe Coutinho and Eden Hazard as attacking midfielders in this side. It would be a crime not to have them slicing their way through opposition sides in tandem. It is a debate often held between rival fans as to which of the pair is the better number 10, but they both get a spot in this eleven. It would add extra defensive responsibility on to the shoulders of Kante, but he’s good enough to cope with that!
My first choice for the attacking trio is a man who has played for both clubs – Mohamed Salah. His time at Chelsea did not go as planned, after they pipped Liverpool to his signature back in 2014, but he has returned to the Premier League and is showing everyone just what he is capable of. He has broken scoring records at Anfield and looks an absolute steal at £35m. Impossible to leave him out.
On the other flank is Sadio Mane. The former Southampton man was a breath of fresh air for Liverpool last season as he showed exactly what the side had been missing with his directness, pace and skill. He hasn’t scored as many goals so far this season, but he always has an assist or strike up his sleeve. Is another who has looked more and more of a steal with each game.
The choice for the central striker role in the side is a straight fight between Spain international Alvaro Morata, who joined Chelsea in the Summer, and Liverpool’s Brazil international Roberto Firmino. While Firmino does a lot of work for his team and weighs in with some important goals, the number of times Morata has found the net so far this season sees him take the number 9 shirt by a whisker. He would thrive playing as the focal point of an attacking unit containing Coutinho, Hazard, Salah and Mane…as any forward surely would.