The Premier League is back, and what better way to announce itself than with an epic Merseyside Derby on Saturday afternoon.
Liverpool, currently fourth in the Premier League will play hosts as Ronald Koeman travels to Anfield as Everton boss for the first time in his career, knowing a win will put his side just three points off their neighbours.
It’s a big ask though. The Toffees haven’t beaten Liverpool in their last 13 games, while you’d have to go back 18 years to find the last time they won at Anfield.
We’ll leave the preview for another day though. Right now we’re interested in the players in each side’s ranks.
Who’d make an Ultimate XI?
Today we’re looking at the back-five. So who’ll get the nod? Find out below!
GK – Joel Robles
This was a pretty easy decision in truth. Liverpool can’t seem to decide between Simon Mignolet and Lorius Karius although that’s not because both are impressing in-between the sticks – in fact it’s quite the opposite.
In Maarten Steklenburg’s absence, Robles has been excellent, and has kept an impressive nine clean sheets in 14 games so far this season – that’s more than the two Liverpool keepers combined.
LB – James Milner
Yep, Milner makes yet another ultimate XI this season. The Premier League veteran has been immense for the Reds this season, filling in at left-back since the second game of the season. He’s in our Team of the Season So Far (will attach link to Marshy’s piece) with seven goals and three assists, so there’s no way he wan’t going to make this list.
RB – Seamus Coleman
Our full-back spot on the opposite flank goes to the recently injured Seamus Coleman, who has been as important as ever for the Toffees thus far this season.
Four goals and four assists make him one of the most effective right-backs in the top-flight this season, and Everton will do well to find adequate cover over the coming months.
CB – Joel Matip & Ashley Williams
An area in which both sides could probably do with strengthening, Matip is probably the best of a bad bunch.
Far from being a world-class centre-half, we’re taking into account the fact that this is the Cameroonian’s debut season in England, and so far we’ve been pretty impressed with what we’ve seen.
He’s yet to form a great understanding with Dejan Lovren, and so far the pair have registered just three top-flight clean sheets when playing together.
But this is Lovren’s third season at Anfield, so he should have settled in by now.
As for Everton, it was a toss-up between Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori – but we’ve had our eye on the former since he moved to Goodison Park. And we have to say he’s stood out.
Having spent the previous eight years at Swansea City, Williams would’ve been excused for struggling to adapt to life on Merseyside immediately.
That couldn’t be further from the truth for the 32-year-old though, who has started – and completed – all but one of Everton’s 28 league games this season.
He’s managed to get himself on the scoresheet too, while the Toffees have kept 11 clean sheets with Williams at the heart of their back-four – that’s already more than they managed in the whole of last campaign.
And that rounds off our back five!
Do you agree with our choices or would you make any changes?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Part Two to find out who makes our midfield and attack!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing