Liverpool and Arsenal’s combined best XI ahead of crunch showdown

Ramsdale impressed by Arsenal colleagues in big England win

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Liverpool side will host an ever-improving Arsenal side in the first Premier League match for either side after the international break. In recent seasons, a victory for Jurgen Klopp’s men over Mikel Arteta’s side would have almost been a given, considering the vastly different fortunes of both sides.

In the last four seasons, Liverpool have lifted the club’s sixth Champions League and first ever Premier League title, while the Gunners have not even qualified for the top four. However, for the first time since the Arsene Wenger era, the tumultuous battle at Anfield looks to be refreshingly even.

West Ham’s victory over Liverpool, means Arteta’s side come into the contest with the longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League, having gone into the first international break of the season in 20th position, with 0 goals scored and zero goals conceded.

Fast forward to the present day, the North Londoners are now breathing down Liverpool’s neck in fifth position.

Ahead of the titanic clash on Merseyside, Express Sport considers the best combined Xi on current form, going into the contest.

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GOALKEEPER

Alisson vs Ramsdale 

Aaron Ramsdale has kept five clean sheets in his first eight appearances since arriving at the Emirates for £25m in the summer. His miraculous, fingertip save from James Maddison’s looping free-kick in Arsenal’s 2-0 away victory against Leicester City was nothing short or miraculous.

However, Alisson has been one of the best goalkeepers in the world since his £67m move from Roma, and while he endured a nightmare performance against West Ham, he is still the stronger goalkeeper out of the two.

Winner – Alisson

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DEFENCE

Alexander-Arnold vs Tomiyasu

Takehiro Tomiyasu was a relatively unknown player when he arrived in the summer, but he has silently solved Arsenal problems at right-back. The £16m arrival from Bologna slipped into the back-four like a glove, instantly solidifying a right side which was constantly exposed. Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the best attacking-right-backs in world football, however, his defensive struggles were exposed by the Hammers before the international break. On current form, Tomiyasu will be given the nod ahead of the Englishman – only just.

Winner: Takehiro Tomiyasu

Van Dijk vs Gabriel

Both players are the defensive colossuses who hold together their respective teams. Liverpool and Arsenal do not operate anywhere near as strongly when they are not in the backline, as has been proven in their respective absences last season and at the start of the new campaign. But Virgil Van Dijk, even when he is not 100% fit, is still arguably the best central defender in the World, and any side would give an arm and a leg to have him within their ranks.

Winner: Virgil van Dijk

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Matip vs White

Ben White endured a difficult start to life at the Emirates, but he has grown into his hefty £50m price tag. He has formed a solid understanding with Gabriel, and the Gunners have been reaping the rewards, and the clean sheets, ever since. Joel Matip has also had a very strong start to the season, however, White’s composure and passing capabilities have earned him a place next to Van Dijk in the combined eleven.

Winner: Ben White

Robertson vs Tierney

Scotland are very lucky to have two top quality left-backs in Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney. They are both outstanding on an attacking and a defensive front, and they are arguably two of the most consistent performers in their side. However, Robertson only just edges ahead of his compatriot for his consistency and his aggressiveness, and he would slot into the left full-back position perfectly.

Winner: Andrew Robertson

MIDFIELD

Fabinho vs Partey

Klopp was often forced to deploy Fabinho as a makeshift central defender last season, however, the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate means the Brazilian has been able to dominate in his favoured defensive-midfield position. His calmness on the ball, defensive instincts, and game intelligence makes him the perfect metronome for the Reds. Thomas Partey has enjoyed a very strong start to the season at the heart of Arteta’s midfield, however, Fabinho would be the sole protecter of the defence in the combined starting eleven.

Winner: Fabinho

Thiago vs Smith-Rowe

Emile Smith-Rowe has been one of the division’s outstanding young players, breaking into Gareth Southgate’s England plans and even notching his first goal in the Three Lions’ 10-0 rout against San Marino. His crisp strike in Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Watford was his third consecutive goal and his fourth in the League this season. While Thiago’s reputation precedes itself, he has often struggled to adapt to the Premier League since his move from Bayern Munich; therefore, the young Englishman will occupy a space as an advanced midfielder in the starting eleven.

Winner: Emile Smith-Rowe

Henderson vs Sambi-Lokonga

Albert Sambi-Lokonga was another young star who flew under the radar during the transfer window, but his performances for the Gunners have been of a player mature beyond his years. But while the former Anderlecht star has impressed, Jordan Henderson’s performances and leadership continue to be consistently excellent. He would take the captain’s armband in the midfield; providing the midfield safety blanket allowing Smith-Rowe to venture forward, as well as protecting the back four.

Winner: Jordan Henderson

ATTACK

Salah vs Saka

Bukayo Saka is perhaps unfortunate to miss out on a place in the combined eleven, however, there is not a single player on the planet in better form than Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian King has been nothing short of sensational; smashing home ten Premier League goals and six assists, as well as seven goals in the Premier League. Very few players have operated at the same levels as the 29-year-old in the Premier League; therefore there is little surprise that he would be deployed on his favoured right side.

Winner: Mohamed Salah

Jota vs Lacazette

With Roberto Firmino missing through a hamstring injury, Diogo Jota will likely deputise ahead of the Brazilian against the Gunners. However, the Portuguese star is hardly a downgrade on Firmino, as he has scored four League goals in his first ten matches. Meanwhile Alexandre Lacazette has been bright in flashes, but is still struggling to hit the back of the net for the Gunners. And while false nines are highly debated, Jota will lead the line of the combined eleven in Firmino’s absence.

Winner: Diogo Jota

Mane vs Aubameyang

Two players who have consistently brought the Premier League to their feet. Both stars have also started the season strongly, scoring six goals and four goals in the League respectively. However, when Mane and Salah are both on the wings Liverpool are irresistible at times. While Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has been an outstanding player for the North Londoners, Mane will take up his usual place on the left-hand side of the attack.

Winner: Sadio Mane

THE COMPLETE LIVERPOOL VS ARSENAL COMBINED XI – (Formation 4-3-3)

GK. Alisson

RB. Takehiro Tomiyasu

CB. Virgil van Dijk

CB. Ben White

LB. Andrew Robertson

CM. Fabinho

CM. Jordan Henderson

CM. Emile Smith-Rowe

RW. Mohamed Salah

ST. Diogo Jota

LW. Sadio Mane

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