MX23RW : Monday, January 21 22:39:24

Combined XI: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal, Sports Mole selects a strongest combined XI from the two squads.

The final round of Premier League matches in 2018 contains a top-five battle on Saturday as unbeaten league leaders Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield.

Results have fallen very kindly for Jurgen Klopp's side over the Christmas period, leaving them six points clear at the top of the table halfway through the season.

However, Arsenal are one of only three teams they have failed to beat so far this season and the Gunners will be looking to bounce back from a run of just one win in four games.

Here, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from both squads, using only players available for this weekend's match.



Combined XI: LIV vs. ARS

Liverpool boast the best defensive record after 19 games of any top-flight season in English football history, so they have to dominate the defence in this team too considering Arsenal have shipped 25 goals to Liverpool's seven.

Alisson Becker is an easy choice in goal ahead of Bernd Leno, while Arsenal's injury problems in defence also make choosing the back four even easier. Hector Bellerin, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding remain sidelined, while Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal are doubtful.

Trent Alexander-Arnold returned from his own injury absence against Newcastle United in midweek - a match which saw Dejan Lovren score the opener. Lovren's place in this team is perhaps the most at risk with Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos providing competition, but he is beginning to shed his error-prone reputation this season.

Much of that could be down to the commanding presence of Virgil van Dijk alongside him, with his displays this season leading to some proclaiming him the best defender in the world, while Andrew Robertson continues to go from strength to strength at left-back.

Arsenal's first representative comes in midfield as Lucas Torreira earns a place, although there is plenty of competition from both sides in that area of the field. Granit Xhaka has improved this season while Matteo Guendouzi has also made a positive start to life in North London.

Any of Liverpool's midfielders - James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum or Naby Keita - could easily slot into this team, but purely on recent form we have opted for Fabinho, who has really settled at Anfield now and registered his first goal for the club against Newcastle on Boxing Day.

Liverpool dominate the forward positions too with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all making the team, although the latter features on the right this time rather than his newer position leading the line.

Salah's relocation is down to the presence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang up front, meaning that the league's top two goalscorers feature in this XI. The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette were all in contention for the front four positions, but the level of quality was just too high for them to get into this team.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Liverpool and Arsenal?

Liverpool
Draw
Arsenal
Liverpool
73.7%
Draw
7.2%
Arsenal
19.1%
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates scoring against Burnley on December 22, 2018
Read Next:
How Arsenal could line up against Brighton
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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