Chelsea and Liverpool have been rubbish this season. This should be a match with huge implications on the title race. Instead, it is a mid-table clash…
Picking a combined XI of two teams horribly out of form is actually very difficult. Pretty much every player here is having a disappointing season so there are bound to be some questionable inclusions. I am, unlike my other combined teams, going to include some players mainly based on previous seasons. Injured players like Reece James and Virgil van Dijk miss out.
Enjoy and don’t get too angry.
GK: Alisson (Liverpool)
We start off with one of the few in this side not horribly out of form. Alisson has been Liverpool’s best player this season, which speaks volumes about how bad the Reds have been. Replace him with Adrian and they might be in a relegation fight.
Chelsea No. 1 Edouard Mendy is out injured and wouldn’t beat Alisson to be my No. 1 if he was fit. Kepa? Don’t make me laugh.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a footballer who divides opinion. Everything there is to be said about him has already been said. He isn’t too solid defensively but is world-class going forward.
Reece James returned to training on Wednesday but Saturday’s match will be a little too soon for him. For what it’s worth, I’d have picked the Chelsea man over Alexander-Arnold if he was fully fit.
CB: Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool)
With Virgil van Dijk out injured, Ibrahima Konate needs to step up. Jurgen Klopp has plenty of options at centre-half and Konate is comfortably the second best behind Van Dijk, better than Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.
Konate has struggled to stay fit this season but has started the last four games for Liverpool. Unfortunately for him, one was a 2-2 draw against Wolves and his two Premier League appearances were 3-1 and 3-0 defeats.
CB: Thiago Silva (Chelsea)
Thiago Silva made my combined Manchester City – Chelsea XI, so he could not miss out here. The Brazilian is 38 years old but still a very, very good player.
LB: Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
Like Trent, Andy Robertson’s biggest rival for a spot in this team returned to Chelsea training on Wednesday morning and shouldn’t be fit in time to play against Liverpool. In case you were unsure, I am referring to Ben Chilwell.
Marc Cucurella has not lived up to his hefty £60million transfer fee after a wonderful 2021/22 season with Brighton, and even with Robertson out of form, the Spaniard does not get in ahead of the Scotland captain.
CM: Thiago (Liverpool)
Thiago is one player I just love watching. He is very easy on the eye. His biggest weakness is his ability to stay fit, unfortunately.
The 31-year-old did not make Spain’s World Cup but he makes my team ahead of some pretty decent players.
CM: Fabinho (Liverpool)
Thiago is joined in this team by his Liverpool teammate Fabinho.
The Brazilian is one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League and was arguably the very best at one point, but I feel like he is currently not on the same level as Thomas Partey, Rodri and Casemiro.
With N’Golo Kante out injured, it was really between Fabinho and Jorginho, or his Reds captain Jordan Henderson, but this was an easy decision.
CM: Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea)
Harvey Elliott is perhaps a little unfortunate to not be in this team, but he is not on the same level as these three central midfielders, even if he is debatably having the better season.
Kovacic is a terrific box-to-box midfielder. He carries the ball very well and can spring an attack out of nowhere. The former Real Madrid man had a terrific World Cup with Croatia and needs to bring that form into the Premier League if Graham Potter’s side are going to climb up the table.
RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Mo Salah is having, arguably, his worst season in a Liverpool shirt. He is obviously still a world-class player and has turned it on a few times this term, especially when he netted the quickest hat-trick in Champions League history against the worst team in Champions League history, Rangers. Sigh.
The fact this is Salah’s worst season at Anfield and he still has 17 goals to his name speaks volumes about how good he is. The Egypt forward averages 0.6 goals per game in the Premier League and has 127 in 211 matches, which includes his wasteful spell at Stamford Bridge.
ST: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
Liverpool spent a lot of money to bring Darwin Nunez to the Premier League last summer and he is clearly a very raw player with a lot to work on. Having said that, he is an absolute nuisance and clearly a lot for any defender to handle. It is kind of a case of him not looking like he knows what he is doing, so how will defenders know?
Nunez has a respectable 10 goals in 23 matches this season, in comparison to six in 26 games for Chelsea’s Kai Havertz. With Roberto Firmino injured, this was a no-brainer.
READ MORE: Darwin Nunez among five Liverpool players Klopp should build around
LW: Raheem Sterling (Chelsea)
The second player here to have played for both teams, Raheem Sterling scored his 100th Premier League goal in December 2021 at the age of 27, making him the eighth-youngest to join the 100 Club, which is a wonderful feat.
Sterling’s start to life at Chelsea has been difficult, however. After a wonderful spell with Manchester City, the Blues spent around £50m on the England winger, who has six goals in 22 games. It is less than ideal, but given his incredible consistency over the years, I have given Sterling the benefit of the doubt, picking him ahead of Premier League new boys Cody Gakpo and Mykhaylo Mudryk.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
This might be Jurgen Klopp’s most difficult spell as Liverpool manager, but any Reds fans calling for his head are beyond delusional.
Graham Potter, on the other hand, is probably going through the worst spell in his managerial career, full stop. Both are top coaches and Chelsea are going to have to give the former Brighton boss time, in a Mikel Arteta-like project. Remember Chelsea fans, #TrustTheProcess. It is also important to remember, this is only the beginning of a stressful transitional period.