Real Madrid v Liverpool: We reveal our combined Champions League XI
Real Madrid and Liverpool will contest the 2018 Champions League Final in Kiev on Saturday night.
Both sides have produced blistering football to get this far, and it should be a cracker with talents galore on either team.
But who would make an ultimate, combined XI? We’ve done some hard thinking over this one.
Here’s our team…
GK – Keylor Navas
Keylor Navas gets the nod over Loris Karius here, but it was a close one.
The Costa Rican stopper is often derided, but who are we to argue with the man who has started on the winning side for the last two Champions League finals?
DF – Sergio Ramos
This is a no-brainer. Sergio Ramos is in the team and is probably the captain too.
For the sake of argument, the Spaniard is the right-back in our XI. But he’s more than capable of holding his own in the centre. He is the beating heart and soul of Real’s recent success.
DF – Raphael Varane
Raphael Varane boasts composure and guile beyond his years. The 25-year-old has developed into the most solid centre-halves in the game and every club would welcome him into their team.
DF – Virgil Van Dijk
Shifting Ramos to right-back allows us to fit Virgil van Dijk in.
The Dutchman is a towering unit at 6ft 4in, and Liverpool have been much improved defensively since his January arrival.
DF – Marcelo
The left-back role is arguably the toughest call of the entire team. Marcelo or Andrew Robertson?
But after much deliberation, it’s Real’s left-back who gets the spot.
Marcelo has been excellent this season, plundering along the left side. He’s scored five goals and supplied nine assists in the process. Robertson is on a rapid rise, no doubt, but he’s not at Marcelo’s level just yet.
MF – Jordan Henderson
Liverpool owe so much of their success this season to the leadership of Jordan Henderson.
The 27-year-old has been bellowing out instructions to his team-mates, while keeping things ticking along in the middle of the park.
MF – Luka Modric
He probably hasn’t been quite at his best this term, but Luka Modric can still spray a pass like few others.
The Croatian is the pivot around which Real swing from defence into attack. His vision and inch-perfect passing are sought-after assets.
MF – Isco
Isco just beats Toni Kroos to the final midfield spot. The Spaniard has enjoyed a solid season with nine goals and 10 assists in all competitions.
The 26-year-old’s movement and largely free-to-roam role means he’s a devil to mark, and he’s proven adept at linking midfield into attack.
CF – Mohamed Salah
The first name on the team-sheet nowadays. Mohamed Salah has become a legend at Anfield and around the world.
The smiling Egyptian has bagged 44 goals this season, smashing Ian Rush’s long-standing club record.
32 goals in the Premier League was another record too. He’s been simply unstoppable this season and 16 assists shows he’s a team-player too.
Has he got one more match-winning performance left for Saturday night?
CF – Cristiano Ronaldo
Another slam dunk here. Who would dare leave Cristiano Ronaldo out of any XI? The Portuguese star has smashed in 44 goals in 43 club games this term, including 15 from 12 in the Champions League.
It’s not just quantity though, Ronaldo is still all about the quality too. Remember that overheard stunner against Juventus? He’s 33-years-old, but Ronnie has still got it.
CF – Roberto Firmino
Roberto Firmino gets over Karim Benzema here, and deservedly so. The Brazilian does so much work to allow Salah to thrive.
His wiry frame is a nightmare to defend against, and Firmino isn’t too shabby in front of goal either.
All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing