Combined Liverpool and Everton XI
After a two-week layoff, Premier League will return to action this weekend following the international break and we will be kicking off the return with the explosive Merseyside Derby, as Liverpool welcome local rivals Everton to Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Both the teams were in good knick before the international break, with Liverpool winning two of their last three league fixtures, against Arsenal and Burnley, before drawing an important away game against Manchester City.
Everton too come in with a good run, having bounced back from a 3-2 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur with comfortable wins over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City.
The last time the two sides met, a late goal from Sadio Mane ensured that the Reds returned with 3 points from the Goodison Park and they will be hoping for a similar result this Saturday to stay in the hunt for the Champions League spots. Everton, however, come in with serious steam within them and will not make it easy for Liverpool.
Ahead of the game, we pick a playing XI comprising of the best players from the two teams in the ongoing campaign.
Joel Robles (GK)
Between the sticks, it will be Everton’s Spanish shot-stopper Joel Robles, who has managed to oust the veteran Maarten Stekelenburg from the starting XI in recent weeks. Robles has managed to keep 8 clean sheets in the league from just 13 appearances. In comparison, Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet has just 4 shutouts from 19 games, making Robles the preferred choice.
Nathaniel Clyne (RB)
At right-back it will Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool. The former Southampton man has been one of the few consistent defenders for the Reds this season and has been solid at the back and excellent going forward as well. With the Toffees having lost their full-back Seamus Coleman; who had been nothing short of brilliant for Everton this season, to a broken leg; Clyne is the undisputed choice.
Joel Matip (CB)
At centre-back it will be Liverpool summer signing Joel Matip. The Cameroonian has been really consistent and has come up good against some of the best strikers in the league this season. As a result, he edges out veteran Phil Jagielka from the line-up.
Ashley Williams (CB)
And alongside Matip, it will be another summer signing Ashley Williams coming into our line-up, ahead of the inconsistent Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, and Ramiro Funes Mori. The Welshman has been one of the best signings of the season and has managed to add a great deal of solidity to the Toffees defence.
Leighton Baines (LB)
Slotting in at left-back will be another Evertonian with Leighton Baines ousting Liverpool makeshift left-back James Milner. While Milner has been doing admirably well, playing in an unnatural position, Baines has continued to perform with great consistency and makes it to the line-up owing to his better all-round play.
Idrissa Gueye (CM)
In the first of the three-man midfield, it will be Idrissa Gueye of Everton. The Senegalese international has turned out to be another brilliant piece of business for the Toffees with his excellent displays in the middle of the park over the course of the season. And with Jordan Henderson not completely fit and Emre Can’s struggles in the early parts of the season, Gueye is our preferred selection.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM)
Ahead of him will be Liverpool’s summer addition in midfield, Gini Wijnaldum. The former Newcastle United man has brought in great energy in the midfield and has chipped in with several crucial goals for the Reds. While Tom Davies has been doing quite well in a similar role for Everton in recent weeks, Wijnaldum makes it to the line-up because of his better goal-scoring records.
Adam Lallana (CM)
Alongside Wijnaldum will be his teammate Adam Lallana. The former Southampton man has been enjoying his best campaign in Liverpool colours. His swift and intelligent play in the attacking third has been brilliant for the Reds and he is the unequivocal choice in the midfield.
Sadio Mane (RW)
And on the right-flank, without a doubt, it will be Sadio Mane. The Senegalese international has been in brilliant form this term after arriving at Anfield in the summer. Having already scored 12 times in the league this season, along with 5 assists, his inclusion in the line-up is a no-brainer really.
Ross Barkley (LW)
On the opposite flank, we will see Everton contract rebel Ross Barkley ahead of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho. The Englishman has hit a green patch in recent weeks and with Coutinho struggling for form upon his return from injury, Barkley edges him out.
Romelu Lukaku (ST)
No prizes for guessing this one. Romelu Lukaku has been in explosive form for Everton and is currently the leading goal-scorer in the league with 21 goals. Easily one of the best strikers in the country right now, he will lead the line in this combined XI.
And this is how it looks: