The penultimate weekend of Premier League fixtures see’s Chelsea host Liverpool, a clash in which could have major affects on the outcome of the top four race.
There’s been many classic encounters from this rivalry in the past decade 15 years or so, we could see another one this weekend with many world-class players on show.
With that in mind, here’s the pick of the bunch in a combined XI between the two sides:
1. GK – Thibaut Courtois
It’s no surprise the world-class Thibaut Courtois will take the keeper spot. Despite not meeting his usual standards this season, the Belgian’s ability is unquestioned. The 25-year-old’s future at Stamford Bridge is still uncertain, with interest coming from Real Madrid.
Either way, Courtois is miles ahead of Loris Karius who has seen a huge improvement in form since the start of 2018.
2. RB – Cesar Azpilicueta
The ever-present Cesar Azpilicueta starts off the back-four in the position which he started his Chelsea career off, now part of back-three the Spaniard is one of The Blues most consistent players.
Although Trent-Alexander Arnold has enjoyed a wonderful breakthrough season at Anfield, the reliable Azpilicueta can’t be looked past to take the right-back spot.
3. CB – Virgil Van Dijk
The Dutch colossus really is superb. Virgil Van Dijk has almost single-handedly transformed Liverpool’s defensive woes since joining The Reds from Southampton in January.
Strong, fast and combative with the confidence on the ball of a world-class defender, the 26-year-old will be the defensive leader for this combined XI.
4. CB – Antonio Rudiger
Whilst most of Chelsea’s last summer signings haven’t worked out, Antonio Rudiger has been one of the better ones.
The Blues have always looked more defensively assured with the German playing. Similar to Virgil Van Dijk, Rudiger is an athlete with a good defensive brain and a partnership with Liverpool’s Dutchman would be top drawer.
5. LB – Andrew Robertson
Although Marcos Alonso took the left-back spot in the Premier League team of the year, most would’ve argued that Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson should’ve got the nod after an excellent debut season.
The Scotsman’s rise to success wasn’t expected after joining from relegated Hull City last summer, however since coming into the Liverpool team in November he has made the left-back spot his own.
6. CDM – N’golo Kante
Another one of Chelsea’s most consistent performers, the Frenchman will never let you down. Everyone knows the work off the ball Kante puts in, however on the ball his work goes very underappreciated.
He’s the perfect holding midfielder, tidy and neat on the ball with an engine to cover ground all game. Jordan Henderson has had a very good season leading Liverpool to a Champions League final, but Kante is on another level.
7. CM – James Milner
On current form James Milner is one of the best midfielders in the country, the experienced veteran has enjoyed possibly his best individual season in the Premier League.
Similarly to Kante, Milner is guaranteed to put a shift in every single game, but it’s his other side of his game which has been taken to another level this season. The Englishman’s creativity has seen him break a Champions League record, making nine assists in a single Champions League campaign.
8. CM – Cesc Fabregas
The last midfielder could’ve been different if Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were fit. However, Cesc Fabregas is not a bad option to round off the midfield.
Although the Spaniard recently turned 31, he still has the natural talent to be a difference maker in the highest level of football matches. With Milner and Kante providing the legs in midfield, Fabregas would be allowed to roam and spray those magical passes in order to create goal-scoring chances.
9. RW – Mohamed Salah
I highly doubt there’s anything more that can be said about this man that hasn’t already been said. The Egyptian king is the most in-form player in the world at this moment, he has to be in this team.
Salah will be looking to haunt his old club this weekend for a second time this season after he scored in the 1-1 draw at Anfield between the two sides in November, although scoring in-front of the Stamford Bridge faithful will be sweeter.
10. LW – Eden Hazard
There’s no doubt Eden Hazard has endured an up and down season with sparks of individual brilliance in which we’ve become accustomed to seeing, very similar to his competition for the left-wing spot in this combined XI, Sadio Mane.
Hazard or Mane? It’s a no-brainer. Although it’s frustrating to not have seen Hazard take his performances to the next level with goals and assists, his raw natural talent is a pleasure to watch.
11. ST – Roberto Firmino
26 goals and 14 assists later and finally the unique Brazilian is getting the praise he deserves, Firmino is another Liverpool player to have taken his game to a new level this season.
The 26-year-old’s general play was never questioned, but his end product was, leading to some of the Anfield faithful calling for a new ‘proper’ striker. Firmino is in a league of his own for his style of play, dropping in as a false nine and dispossessing opposition midfielders with his non-stop work ethic. Not to even mention his ability on the ball.