Chelsea v Liverpool combined XI: No one can keep marvellous Mohamed Salah out while Blues new boy Timo Werner leads the line, but how many more of Frank Lampard’s big-money signings make the cut?
- Liverpool face their first big test of their Premier League title defence on Sunday
- Frank Lampard’s new-look Chelsea welcome the champions to Stamford Bridge
- Gap between the two teams has thinned with Chelsea splashing out this summer
- Sportsmail has put together a combined XI ahead of Sunday’s mammoth clash
Last season there weren’t many Chelsea players who had a case to get into Liverpool’s team.
This season is a different story. Frank Lampard has splashed out and brought in some exciting talent which has seen his Chelsea side transform into – in many people’s eyes – genuine title contenders.
Those credentials will be put to the test on Sunday as they welcome the champions to Stamford Bridge. Ahead of the mammoth clash, Sportsmail have put together a combined XI, but which of Chelsea’s new boys make the cut?
Frank Lampard and Jurgen Klopp pit their wits against one another at Stamford Bridge today
Considering how desperate Chelsea are to replace their current No 1, this was a fairly obvious choice.
Alisson is one of the best shot stoppers in the Premier League and a vital cog in Jurgen Klopp’s machine.
The Brazilian is unbeatable on his day and has a key role to play in thwarting Chelsea’s new-look attack.
Alisson is one of the Premier League’s best and certainly better than any keeper Chelsea have
Right Back: Trent Alexander-Arnold
There aren’t many right-backs in world football who would keep Trent Alexander-Arnold out of a team.
Chelsea do have some promising young players coming through in this position – Reece James in particular looks to have a big future ahead of him – but Alexander-Arnold is the perfect example of a modern-day full back and just simply too good to be left out.
He has one of the sweetest right foots in the country, poses a huge threat going forward and is maturing into a defensively sound player as well.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has a sweet right foot and is a real creative hub for Liverpool
Centre Back: Virgil van Dijk
No left-field choices here, even after his horror show against Leeds. Virgil van Dijk HAS to get a spot in this team.
The Dutchman has not quite been at his best in recent months but is a commanding centre-half and arguably remains better than any other player at what he does in the world.
Since joining he has been a rock for Liverpool – Lampard could only wish he had someone like Van Dijk at his disposal to fix his defensive woes.
Virgil van Dijk was far from his best against Leeds but his talent remains unquestionable
Centre Back: Thiago Silva
It’s not entirely clear how Lampard will use Thiago Silva this season, and he isn’t getting any younger, but the Brazilian has so much pedigree and experience it was too hard to ignore him.
Silva is almost 36 now but there’s a sense he’ll have a big role to play for Chelsea this season both on and off the pitch.
Even though he may not play every game, he is certainly the most talented and decorated centre-half Chelsea have while Joe Gomez has not shown the consistency to prove he deserves this spot ahead of Silva.
Thiago Silva is by far the most experienced and decorated defender on both sides
Left Back: Andy Robertson
Completing the back four is Liverpool’s Scottish warrior.
Robertson’s rise to becoming the best left back in world football has been remarkable to watch under Klopp and both him and Alexander-Arnold have re-defined the full-back role.
The Scot’s infectious energy and enthusiasm to get up and down the pitch and his devastating crossing ability means he’s a threat in attack but he is also strong defensively and has been a major part of Liverpool’s recent success.
Andy Robertson’s energy helps up get up and down the pitch and his crossing is a huge threat
Centre Midfield: N’Golo Kante
Kante is a world class midfielder and few players – if any – do the simple things as well as him.
You could make an argument for the 29-year-old getting into any starting XI in the world.
His ability to break up play and run all day is crucial to how Lampard wants his team to play and he appropriately bags a place in our team.
N’Golo Kante is an all-round great box-to-box midfielder and slots right into our team
Centre Midfield: Jordan Henderson
It would be doing Jordan Henderson a massive disservice to overlook him.
The midfielder was named FWA Player of the Year last season and rightfully so. He is a real leader in the dressing room for Liverpool and the kind player who is prepared to sacrifice himself for the team.
A true model professional and Liverpool’s success in recent years has a lot to do with him.
Jordan Henderson is Reds’ leader and is coming into this term off the back of his best season
Attacking Midfield: Kai Havertz
If you ever saw Kai Havertz play in Germany then you know the talent he possesses.
Chelsea fans were disappointed by the 21-year-old’s debut at Brighton earlier this week, but in time he will prove why Frank Lampard was hellbent on signing him – even at a cost of nearly £90million.
Havertz gives Chelsea a real cutting edge in attack and Klopp will be wary of allowing him to settle into the game early on Sunday. Thiago would have probably taken Havertz’s place if he was definitely going to play some part.
Kai Havertz didn’t have the greatest of debuts but is bound to come good for Chelsea
Right Wing: Mohamed Salah
Liverpool’s little magician – and the Premier League’s answer to Lionel Messi – was irrepressible and irresistible last time out against Leeds, scoring a hat-trick as the champions kick-started their title defence with a narrow 4-3 win.
Business as usual then. Salah is a real goal-getter, a match-winner and his drive to be the best is infectious. He may be Liverpool’s most important player and Chelsea won’t need telling twice just how dangerous he can be when he’s on song… as he so often is.
Mohamed Salah was unstoppable against Leeds and no winger could keep him out of the team
Left Wing: Sadio Mane
No one on these shores can thrill like Sadio Mane.
You can’t help but be on the edge of the seat, waiting, expecting something to happen each time the ball arrives at his feet.
He has skill, frightening pace and a real eye for goal. A truly world-class player who can give any defence nightmares. Not many people will envy James on Sunday – he could be in for a long afternoon.
Senegal star Sadio Mane is such an exciting player and a huge asset to Liverpool
Striker: Timo Werner
Werner looks like the player Chelsea have been missing for a long time. A prolific striker with genuine pace that can hurt defences.
Now Roberto Firmino is a wonderfully-gifted footballer – there’s a reason Klopp holds him in such high esteem – and the only reason he misses out here is because he is not as clinical as Werner. The German lives on goals whereas Firmino prefers to interlink and play a little deeper.
Werner has made an auspicious start to his Chelsea career with a promising performance in Chelsea’s win at Brighton and you sense it won’t be long before he opens his account for them. Klopp wanted to sign the forward in the summer but missed out on him and Werner may just make him come to regret that on Sunday.
Timo Werner was a constant thorn in Brighton’s backside and poses Liverpool a big threat
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