Liverpool might have finished behind Newcastle United last season but their strongest XI is still one of the best in the league and superior to the Magpies. That is not to say they are favourites for Sunday’s Premier League clash, mind. Newcastle can beat anyone in the world at a rocking St James’ Park; just ask Aston Villa, who were demolished 5-1 in the north east on matchday one.
Anfield has a similar aura and intimidation about it, but with the match taking place in Newcastle, you have to consider the hosts the favourites to win. However, the combined XI of the two teams has seven Liverpool players in it. Don’t get your knickers in too much of a twist if you don’t agree.
GK: Alisson (Liverpool)
Both teams have a superb goalkeeper, which always helps the ten outfielders feel at ease. There is nothing worse than going out for a game with no trust in your No. 1.
Nick Pope has been an inspired signing for the Magpies but is simply not on the same level as Alisson, who has been one of Liverpool’s most important players since becoming the second-most-expensive goalkeeper of all time five years ago.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
This is another position both teams are absolutely blessed in. Kieran Trippier and Trent Alexander-Arnold are renowned for their impeccable dead-ball ability and crossing prowess and to say the latter is superior in both is a huge compliment to the Reds right-back, because Trippier is bloody fantastic.
Trippier is better defensively than Trent, so he does have that over his England teammate, at least. That is not enough to land him a spot in our combined XI, unfortunately. Alexander-Arnold – like Alisson is to Pope – is pure and simply on a different level to Trippier.
CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
Big Virg is not the man he used to be but he is still a very good footballer. If he can have Ibrahima Konate next to him for the vast majority of this season, Liverpool will be in a good position to finish top four.
Fabian Schar has been tremendous for Newcastle post-takeover, but they should probably sign a right-sided central defender to slot in next to Sven Botman, if not now definitely in 2024.
CB: Sven Botman (Newcastle)
Speaking of Botman, he joins his fellow Dutchman in central defense, being our first Toon representative in the combined XI.
You can see why Newcastle chased and chased Botman when he was at Lille and they are counting their lucky stars he joined them over AC Milan. He is one for the present and future, just a brilliant player who will only get better. He looks like the perfect man to succeed Van Dijk as Netherlands captain.
LB: Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
Like a lot of this Liverpool team, Andrew Robertson is a bit past his best. He is still a very good player and superior to Dan Burn, Tino Livramento and Lewis Hall, though.
DM: Sandro Tonali (Newcastle)
Newcastle have picked up a gem in Sandro Tonali, who recently endeared himself to the Magpies faithful by reserving a table for himself at Wetherspoons. Bless.
Fabinho, even though he was pants last season, would have given Tonali a run for his money if he didn’t run off to Saudi Arabia. In truth, it was a bit of a free run for the Italian, with Liverpool expected to sign a defensive midfielder before the end of the summer transfer window. Putting in Wataru Endo over him would have been funny, to be fair.
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CM: Alexis Mac Allister (Liverpool)
Liverpool are boosted by the fact Mac Allister’s red card against Bournemouth has rightly been rescinded, meaning he is available for Sunday’s encounter, and for our combined XI.
The Argentine World Cup winner is one of the signings of the summer at an initial £35million from Brighton, who will have included some clauses and bonuses in there to ensure their pants have not been pulled down, because that is not how transfers work at the Amex.
CM: Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle)
There is only really one notable absentee from this XI and that is £60m summer signing Dominik Szoboszlai, who will probably go on to have a better season than the three midfielders selected. For what it’s worth, the Hungarian is a great player and we have full faith he will go on to do great things at Anfield.
Bruno Guimaraes is the natural choice. He has been superb for Newcastle and has been a fan favourite since the first day he stepped out on to the St James’ Park grass.
RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Will he or won’t he? Those Saudi billionaires are knocking on Mo Salah’s door and it will be a humungous blow to Liverpool if he decides he wants to go.
Transfer gossip aside, Salah is so much better than Newcastle right-winger Miguel Almiron that it actually hurts to make the comparison.
ST: Alexander Isak (Newcastle)
Liverpool only have one natural striker and he (Darwin Nunez) still has a lot to prove in the Premier League. Alexander Isak, on the other hand, had a super debut season in England, scoring 11 goals in 29 appearances. He is only going to get better, as well.
LW: Luis Diaz (Liverpool)
Anthony Gordon has been pretty impressive for Newcastle after a lot of people (myself included) barfed at the £45m transfer fee Newcastle paid for him. This should be a big season for him and Harvey Barnes, but both are a level below Luis Diaz.
Diaz’s return from injury is a huge boost for Jurgen Klopp and we think this will be a huge season for the Colombian winger.