Liverpool vs Everton: Picking a Combined XI Ahead of the Merseyside Derby

The first Merseyside derby of the season is one of the most hotly anticipated in recent history, as table-topping Everton take on reigning Premier League champions Liverpool at lunchtime on Saturday.

The Reds won the Premier League at a canter during the 2019/20 season, and their title winning team will go down as one of the greatest the top flight has ever seen. However, the Toffees are enjoying their best ever start to a Premier League season and with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm and a selection of intelligent summer signings, this is one of the most exciting Everton sides in recent history.

All in all, this makes attempting to squeeze these two teams into one combined XI an absolute nightmare. Ah well, we're sure there'll be no disagreements and you'll concur with each and every selection.

1. Goalkeepers & Defenders

Alexander-Arnold is arguably the finest right back in the top flight | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Joran Pickford (GK) - With Alisson sidelined with a shoulder injury, it's the best of a bad bunch in regards to goalkeepers. Adrian is Liverpool's number two, Pickford is Everton's number one, he's got good distribution and he's never let England down...except for on Wednesday night.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) - He might have had a couple of defensive mares against Leeds and Aston Villa this season, but Alexander-Arnold is still the Premier League's top right back. Superb delivery, such a sweet striker of the ball and 25 assists over the last two seasons.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - Another who's had a couple of defensive moments to forget this season, but he's still the coolest, most consistent centre half in the top flight, and Liverpool would not be Premier League champions without him.

Yerry Mina (CB) - The Everton centre half has been understatedly brilliant this season, flinging himself in front of anything and everything during the Toffees' recent victory over Brighton. With Joe Gomez yet to hit the heights of last season, the Colombian edges into the XI.

Lucas Digne (LB) - Tough competition for the coveted left back spot with the excellent Andy Robertson, but Digne has started the season in mightily impressive form. So dangerous when marauding forward, so dogged defensively.

2. Midfield

Rodriguez has been sublime for Everton | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Thiago Alcântara (DCM) - The Spaniard is one of the best central midfielders in the world, let alone Merseyside. His intelligence, vision and ability to pick a pass are mesmerising, and Liverpool fans are going to be in for an absolute treat when they can finally watch him in the flesh.

Jordan Henderson (DCM) - A standout performer in Liverpool's title winning campaign, his presence and leadership were sorely missed as the Reds capitulated against Aston Villa. Dynamic, a grafter and better on the ball than people give him credit for.

James Rodriguez (CAM) - The Colombian has played wide right for Everton this season - he's not going to dislodge Mo Salah, but we simply could not leave him out. Rodriguez has been running games since he stepped foot in England. Elegant, adventurous, intelligent. It's like it's the summer of 2014 all over again.

3. Forwards

Salah and Mane are two of the Premier League's finest forwards | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Mohamed Salah (RW) - Liverpool's defensive issues have not bled into their strike force this season - Salah even managed to emerge from a 7-2 defeat with credit. Five goals in four appearances thus far, he'll reach 80 Premier League goals for the Reds - in just 112 appearances - if he finds the net on Saturday.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) - Is this a controversial one? On current form, you can't leave Calvert-Lewin out of any starting XI (apart from England's against Denmark on Wednesday evening). We know Roberto Firmino is a very good footballer and we know he offers so much more than just goals, but with nine goals in six outings Calvert-Lewin is the top flight's form striker and is well worth his place in this XI.

Sadio Mane (LW) - Typifies this Liverpool side in the way he enthusiastically leads the press. Mane is an absolute live wire, with the quality to match. So skilful, adventurous and clinical. Forty goals across the last two Premier League seasons, he'd walk into any top flight side.

Source : 90min