MX23RW : Wednesday, November 21 04:27:11
May 6, 2018 at 4.30pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 41,314
Chelsea
1-0
Liverpool
Giroud (32')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Sports Mole selects a combined XI from those expected to be available for Sunday's Premier League meeting between Chelsea and Liverpool.

Liverpool take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the pick of this weekend's Premier League fixtures with a spring in their step after reaching the final of the Champions League.

The Reds will hope to follow up their success on the continent by nailing down a top-four finish in the league, which they can effectively achieve with a point in West London.

Chelsea have struggled in this fixture of late, losing each of their last two home meetings with Liverpool, and the pressure is now on to end that run as three points are a must.

Ahead of Sunday's clash, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both teams using those expected to be available.


Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Despite improving since being given the nod as Liverpool's first choice over Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius still has the odd lapse in concentration, as witnessed against Roma in midweek. That is far less of a problem for opposite number Thibaut Courtois, who has 14 clean sheets to his name in the league this term and looks far more composed between the sticks.

Chelsea have favoured a three-man backline since a quarter of the way through last season, and Liverpool can themselves set out in that formation due to the versatility of attack-minded duo Trent Alexander-Arnold - originally a midfielder - and Andrew Robertson. The Liverpool full-backs have worked perfectly in tandem in recent months and, while Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses do boast the ability to score goals, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are enjoying the form of their lives.

That leaves three spaces at centre-back, two of which are fairly straightforward to fill. Virgil van Dijk has no doubt helped to strengthen Liverpool at the back since arriving in January, as you would expect from a player that cost £75m, and Cesar Azpilicueta has arguably been the Premier League's most consistent defender over the past couple of years. There are claims to be made by Dejan Lovren and Gary Cahill for the other spot in the backline, but Antonio Rudiger looks to have that something different about him and has helped Chelsea to clean sheets in his last two outings.

In what is an attacking side with the use of flying wing-backs, N'Golo Kante is the perfect defensive midfielder to provide some protection in front of the back four. Kante's performances may have gone under the radar this term, especially in comparison to the last two title-winning campaigns, but he has been as efficient as ever and would still get into pretty much any team on the continent. Alongside the Frenchman is the unheralded James Milner - arguably the most influential of the Reds' central midfielders across the duration of the campaign and someone who can provide more balance in the middle than Cesc Fabregas.

While Chelsea's forward players have largely struggled this term, with Olivier Giroud recently usurping Alvaro Morata as first-choice striker, Liverpool's have thrived and hold claim to being the best attacking triumvirate in the world. Mohamed Salah has enjoyed a clean sweep of individual accolades over the past fortnight, while Roberto Firmino has rightly been praised for his contribution in this memorable campaign. Sadio Mane, too, has impressed, particularly against Roma last time out, but Eden Hazard - 12 goals, four assists in the top flight - quite simply has to be shoehorned into any hybrid side of this nature.

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Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho pictured in front of the Anfield faithful on October 14, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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