We’re all looking forward to the fantastic Friday Night Football, especially when a game as big as Chelsea vs Liverpool is on. Here is my combined XI, in a 4-3-3 formation:
GK: Thibaut Courtois
This one was a no-brainer. After being Chelsea’s first team ‘keeper for a few seasons now, and being solid for those few seasons, it puts him a world above the mistake-ridden Simon Mignolet. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now, and is still only young so has time to improve still.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne
Clyne had a great season last year, and has continued his form into this season. Last season he made an average of 2.5 tackles per game, 1.6 interceptions per game and only conceded 0.6 fouls per game. This season he is making an average of 2.8 clearances per game, the same amount of tackles per game and 0.5 interceptions per game. Pretty good for a right back.
CB: Gary Cahill
A very solid defender, one of the no-nonsense defenders which I love. He knows exactly what to do in every situation, whether to put his boot through it or to try and pass it out from the back. This is shown in his average clearances from last season, getting 4.9 clearances per game. He is also not afraid to go up for a header, winning 3 headers on average per game last year. Very important player for the Blues.
CB: Joel Matip
A new summer signing for Liverpool, and they should be very happy with him based on his stats from last year. He makes a few interceptions, on average getting 3.1 interceptions per game last season. He is another no-nonsense defender, getting 5.4 clearances per game last season for Schalke. He will be a crucial player for the Reds, hopefully improving their defence from the shambles it was known to be at times.
LB: Cesar Azpilicueta
A very solid left back, probably one of the best in the league. He’s got everything, he can defend and attack, score, assist and cross a ball. He got 3 goals, 2 assists and made an average of 3.1 tackles per game. Azpi feels like he’s been around for ages, but he’s only 27 so he has a good few years left in him, and he will be an important player for Chelsea for a long time.
CM: N’Golo Kante
We all know about Kante. He was one of Leicester’s stand out players last season, so in a bid to improve their strength in midfield, Chelsea signed him in the summer transfer window. He is an absolute work-horse. He just does not stop running. He was so important defensively, getting 4.7 tackles and 4.2 interceptions per game from midfield. He also pitched in with 4 assists and 1 goal, he will be crucial this season.
CM: Phillipe Coutinho
Coutinho was a no brainer for this combined XI. On his day, he is completely unstoppable and if he has his day against Chelsea, it could be a long game for Blues fans. He has already demonstrated his ability this season against Arsenal, bagging 2 goals against the Gunners; both of them stunners too. He only ever seems to score worldies, he’s definitely the player you see plastered over Vine when Liverpool have won a game. Undoubtedly talented, but just needs to be a bit more consistent and perform week in, week out and then he will be one of the best players in the Premier League.
CM: Roberto Firmino
Coutinho’s Brazilian partner in crime, Firmino has really shone for Liverpool since joining from Hoffenheim last season. In the 15/16 season he had a 76.6% completed pass rate, scored 10 goals and got 7 assists which is incredible for a debut season in the Premier League. He adjusted to English football very quickly, so is a shoe in for this XI.
RW: Sadio Mane
Mane was picked up from Southampton in this summer’s transfer window, after an impressive season last year, picking up 11 goals and 6 assists. This would make him perfect for a striker, but he also had 80.6% pass completion which makes him versatile: he could play up front, as a CAM or as a winger.
ST: Diego Costa
There is no denying that Costa is a world class striker, even Klopp said so. If you can look past his arrogance and his aggression then you’ll see just how good he is, no matter your opinion on him. In his last two seasons for Chelsea he scored a total of 32 goals, and in his last season for Atletico Madrid he scored 27. He is definitely clinical, and will be the best striker on the pitch on Friday night.
LW: Eden Hazard
Has been Chelsea’s star man for a few years now, had an off season last year but then again all of Chelsea did. Hazard has bags of talent, and could be the spark of creativity that Chelsea need as he revitalises his career. In the 2014/15 season he got 14 goals and 9 assists, proving that he was one of the best wingers in the world. Some people were questioning that last season though, as he went off the boil. He looks to be back now though, and can cause Liverpool a lot of problems on Friday.
So, that’s our Chelsea and Liverpool combined XI! Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know on Twitter @FreshFootball!
By Tom Cobbing (@tomcobbing)