Liverpool and Real Madrid meet in the Champions League football this weekend, as two of Europe’s most successful sides go head-to-head for club football’s biggest prize.
The two teams have long and storied histories in this competition and have shared 19 Champions League wins between them, whilst their clash in Paris will see the pair face off in the final for a third time.
Ahead of this weekend’s final in Paris, we’ve gone through the respective squads and chosen our best Liverpool and Real Madrid combined XI.
Goalkeeper: Alisson – Liverpool
Alisson has been an integral part of Liverpool’s marathon season, with the Brazilian remaining one of the world’s best goalkeepers.
Excellent one-against-one and a commanding presence behind the Reds backline, he edges out Thibaut Courtois who recovered from an indifferent first season in Spain to become a central part of the Real Madrid side.
Alisson has been in superb form this season however, winning a second Premier League Golden Glove award after 20 clean sheets in the league alone.
🇧🇷 @Alissonbecker 🔴
What. A. Goalkeeper 👏 pic.twitter.com/IAa3Y9ZeRz
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 23, 2022
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s productivity makes him a unique option in world football, with the right-back having narrowly missed out to teammate Mohamed Salah for the Premier League’s Playmaker Award in 2021/22.
The 23-year-old has set a new career best of 17 assists in all competitions this season and will hope to exert his creative influence on the occasion at the Stade de France.
He led the Premier League for expected assists, crosses, through balls and shot-creating actions during the 2021/22 campaign.
The highest praise for Trent Alexander-Arnold 😲💪 pic.twitter.com/HVkbbdOM3N
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 21, 2022
He will have to be at his best defensively to deal with the threat of Vinicius Junior however, in what shapes as arguably the key match up of the final.
Centre-back: Ibrahima Konate – Liverpool
Konate has been favoured during Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final, despite the outstanding performances of Joel Matip this season.
The summer signing started both legs of the quarter-final and semi-final wins, scoring the opening goal in both legs of the last-eight win over Benfica.
He earns a place in our side for his performances in Europe this season, edging out Matip, Eder Militao and David Alaba, despite the latter’s impressive first season since arriving from Bayern Munich.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
Arguably the finest centre-back in world football, his return from injury this season has contributed to Liverpool’s pursuit of multiple trophies.
The Dutch defender is dominant in the air and on the ground, leading the Premier League for duel success among defenders in 2021/22, winning 73.5% of his 200 duels during the league season.
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) May 26, 2022
Van Dijk will come up against Karim Benzema in a fascinating match-up in Paris, as two of the game’s elite players in their respective positions go head-to-head.
Left-back: Andy Robertson – Liverpool
Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are arguably the world’s best full-back pairing, with the Scotland captain also providing an elite contribution in the final third.
Robertson’s 10 assists in the Premier League this season were betted by only Alexander-Arnold and Salah, whilst his defensive tenacity and endless running are tailor-made for the demands of a Jurgen Klopp side.
One of the most complete full-backs in world football right now, his attacking contributions make this an easy selection over Ferland Mendy.
Midfield: Fabinho – Liverpool
Liverpool’s ‘lighthouse’ has recovered from a fitness issue to take his place this weekend, where the midfielder will be looking to show his former side how far he has come.
A gangly right-back during a short spell at Real Madrid, he has since evolved into one of the game’s premier holding midfielders and will be tasked with putting out midfield fires as Liverpool look to assert dominance in Paris.
The Brazilian has even added goals to his game during the current campaign, netting eight across all competitions. He had managed just three in three seasons before the 2021/22 season.
Midfield: Luka Modric – Real Madrid
Luka Modric becomes the first name to break up the Liverpool dominance of our combined side, with the Croatian creator remaining one of the world’s best playmakers.
Real Madrid’s football often runs through their midfield metronome, who remains as central as ever to the Spanish side’s hopes of winning a record-extending 14th European crown.
"How long are you going to play until?"
"50, 50! Like the Japanese guy Miura!" 🤣
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 26, 2022
Modric has the ability to change the course of a game even into the latter stages of his career, as shown with that wondrous assist in the quarter-final win over Chelsea.
Midfield: Thiago Alcantara – Liverpool
Thiago Alcantara is facing a race against time to be fit for the Champions League final and his absence would be a major blow to Liverpool should he miss out.
The Spaniard has stepped up a level after a testing first season in the Premier League, demonstrating the sublime touch and technique that had raised the excitement levels following his arrival at Anfield.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 3, 2022
Unorthodox and inventive, he has the capability to pull the strings for Liverpool in Paris and could become just the second player, after Clarence Seedorf, to win the Champions League with three different clubs.
Right-wing: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Mohamed Salah has made no secret of his desire to exact revenge on Real Madrid, having been forced off injured during their 2018 final meeting, following a controversial tangle with Sergio Ramos.
Salah heads into the final after winning a third Premier League Golden Boot this season, whilst he has been similarly effective in Europe with eight goals in 12 appearances in the Champions League.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 25, 2022
The Egyptian opened the scoring as Liverpool won the 2019 final against Tottenham and will have his eyes set on another telling contribution in club football’s biggest game.
Left-wing: Sadio Mane – Liverpool
Sadio Mane has enjoyed another outstanding season for Liverpool this term, scoring 23 goals in 50 appearances across all competitions.
Mane has thrived since returning from a successful Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, where he was named as Player of the Tournament after leading the nation to their first ever international title.
🔴🎶 “Sadiooo, Mané!
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 26, 2022
He has scored eight goals in his last 13 league appearances for the Reds, whilst he netted in both legs as Liverpool overcame Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals.
Vinicius Junior is the unfortunate player to miss out after an exceptional season at Real Madrid, the Brazilian having began to fulfil his potential with 21 goals scored.
Forward: Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
Karim Benzema will be hoping to end the best season of his career with a fifth Champions League winners’ medal, having taken his game to new levels in a wonderful individual season.
Benzema has scored 44 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions, winning a first Pichichi Trophy as Spain’s leading scorer.
Benzema and Vinicius Jr. have been involved in 100 goals combined this season 🤯 pic.twitter.com/J9IeTaTrir
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 24, 2022
The France international has been sensational during Real’s run to the final, scoring 15 goals including iconic knockout round hat-tricks against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.
He also scored three goals across the two semi-final legs with Manchester City and another decisive contribution this weekend will enhance his growing case for the Ballon d’Or.