With the Champions League final now just over three day away, it’s time to look at the best combined Real Madrid and Liverpool starting eleven.
Both Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo are certainties in the combined Real Madrid and Liverpool combined XI ahead of the Champions League final this weekend.
The team has been set-up as a 4-3-3 with both Zinedine Zidane and Jurgen Klopp often preferring to play with the same shape this season.
Loris Karius has perhaps been in greater form than Keylor Navas in recent months given the German’s recent breakthrough form establishing himself as Liverpool’s undisputed number one ahead of Saturday’s final.
Despite near-costly mistakes from Navas vs Juventus, his experience and pedigree cannot be overlooked and he therefore gets a narrow nod ahead of Karius. Neither goalkeepers have covered themselves in glory this season, which perhaps makes for an exciting final.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have not only had breakthrough seasons for Liverpool but also standout seasons. Once again however, the experience of Real’s Marcelo and Dani Carvajal cannot be ignored and they therefore get the nod at left-back and right-back respectively.
Virgil van Dijk gets the call over Raphael Varane at centre-back to partner Real captain Sergio Ramos with Frenchman Varane having had another season plagued by regular injuries.
THE MIDFIELD THREE
Liverpool fans, we’re sorry – look away.
As much as we love assist king James Milner, who has broken the record this season for the most amount of assists in a Champions League season (9), we cannot overlook the quality, pedigree and class of Real’s midfield three.
Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro have dominated midfields in Champions League finals before and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson will have to produce the performance of his lifetime to prevent the inevitable repeating itself in the middle of the park.
THE FRONT THREE
Let’s be honest, this is all you’re here for – we’re sorry for wasting your time, lads.
The right-wing position is an inevitability, Mohamed Salah was the first name on our team sheet with the Egyptian scoring ten goals in the competition this season averaging a goal every 90 minutes in the Champions League.
The next task is where do you stick a man like Cristiano Ronaldo? The Portuguese talisman has developed to become a more central forward in recent season but given the inexperience of Liverpool’s full-backs, we expect him to drift wide throughout the final in an attempt to find success arriving late in the box from wide positions. Therefore, we’ve stuck Real’s superstar in his regular leftwing position.
Ronaldo is the competition’s top scorer this season with 15 goals and is also the all-time leading Champions League top scorer with 120 goals, twenty more than second placed Barcelona star Lionel Messi who has 100.
We are therefore looking for a central striker to complete the front three. Many would jump to the established Karim Benzema, but we cannot resist ignoring one man in particular (no, it’s not Danny Ings – sorry, Danny).
Roberto Firmino has 17 goals and assists in the competition this season with only Ronaldo notching more combined assists and goals in the competition (18). The Brazilian is perfect for modern football with Firmino often dropping deep in a style reminiscent of a false nine to allow his wingers to thrive in attacking positions.
Firmino is almost a perfect fit for Real Madrid’s style of play and would allow the likes of Isco, Ronaldo, Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale to excel in wide positions if the Brazilian ever moved to the Bernabeu. We promise we’re not hinting at anything, Florentino Perez.
Below is our completed team, let us know yours in the comments and feel free to send the author plenty of abuse regarding his misguided and ill-judged decisions.