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Liverpool & Real Madrid’s combined 11, Vinicius & Kroos out, Mane & Alcantara in

With Liverpool and Real Madrid set to clash in the UEFA Champions League this Saturday, we have brought you a combined 11 of both teams, with the major surprise being that Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior and Toni Kroos failed to make the combined 11 while Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara did.

 

Vinicius Junior and Sadio Mane (Photo credit: Footy Extras)

Goalkeeper

Alisson Becker beats Thibaut Courtois to the goalkeeping position as he has more clean sheets than the Belgium international this season and in addition, he won the Premier League’s golden glove award last Sunday.

Both goalkeepers so far have 4 clean sheets in the Champions League. However, when it comes to league competition, Alisson had 20 while Courtois had 16.

Right-back

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attacking contribution to Liverpool makes him a better option for the right-back position than Dani Carvajal. He was directly involved in 21 goals in a competition for Liverpool so far this season while that of the Spaniard for Real Madrid is 5 goals.

Right center-back

Real Madrid’s Eder Militao and Liverpool’s Joel Matip are the two players that were considered for this position. Both players are quality defenders, however, we give it to Militao because of the high number of games he has played this season which is a representation of his importance to his team.

The Brazilian center-back featured in all the Champions League matches Real Madrid has played so far this season except in the second-leg defeat to Chelsea due to suspension. On the other hand, Matip was on the bench in 5 of Liverpool’s 12 Champions League matches, including in both legs of the semi-final against Villarreal.

Left center-back

David Alaba is a world-class defender but Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is just better so he is our pick for this position. He reads the game well and he is rarely beaten in one-on-one situations when up against attacking players.

Left-back

A few years ago Marcelo Vieira would have been selected for this position given how good he was. That said, he is no longer a regular starter at Real Madrid so Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson is up against Ferland Mendy for the left-back position.

The Liverpool player gets this position also because of his attacking contributions to his team. So far this season, he has been directly involved in 18 goals in all competitions for Liverpool, while Mendy has only been directly involved in 7 goals for Real Madrid in the same period.

Defensive midfield

Real Madrid’s Casemiro beats Fabinho to this position. We don’t think Karim Benzema’s brilliance would have been enough to take Real Madrid to the final if Casemiro wasn’t as good as he has been this season.

He only missed 2 Champions League matches this season, one due to suspension and the other due to injury. That Real Madrid conceded 4 goals in the first leg against Manchester City which he didn’t play due to injury showed how important he has been for the Los Blancos this season.

Central midfielder 1

Luka Modric is no spring chicken but he showed his class when gave the defense splitting pass that was key to Real Madrid knocking out Chelsea. He beats both Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson to this position.

Central midfielder 2

Liverpool is a good team but they are so much better anytime Thiago Alcantara is on the field. His passing ability helps them control possession better and he creates chances from the center of the park.

Toni Kroos is also a top player but we chose Alcantara because the German international appears to have declined a little bit. It didn’t go unnoticed that he was the first to be substituted in the second leg matches against Chelsea and Manchester City when Real Madrid was desperate for goals.

Right-wing

Mohamed Salah is an easy choice for this position given he has been exceptional for Liverpool in all competitions this season. Both Federico Valverde and Rodrygo for Real Madrid have not been as good as him this season.

Center-forward

Karim Benzema is arguably the best striker in the world this season so gets this position. There is no argument in that, as Liverpool doesn’t have a player that has started consistently in that position this season.

Left-wing

Vinicius Junior has been in fantastic form this season but the left-wing position goes to Liverpool’s Sadio Mane because of his versatility. He has proved this season that can play anywhere across the front three after he started playing in the striker’s position following the arrival of Luis Diaz.

He has also outscored Vinicius Junior so far this season, as he has 23 goals in all competitions for Liverpool while the Brazilian has scored 21 goals.

That the Brazilian winger has a higher number of assists than him this season is because of Karim Benzema’s high conversion rate, and not that the Senegalese winger can’t create as many chances.

Below is our Liverpool and Real Madrid combined 11 for this season arranged in a 4-3-3 formation

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB), Eder Militao (CB), Virgil van Dijk (CB), Andrew Robertson (LB).

Midfielders: Luka Modric (CM), Casemiro (DM), Thiago Alcantara (CM)

Forwards: Mohamed Salah (RW), Karim Benzema (ST), Sadio Mane (RW)

 

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