Real Madrid v Liverpool: Coral’s combined XI
Who makes the cut?
It’s all set up for a thrilling Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool this weekend.
Both sides can be devastating going forward. But who gets into the Coral News Team’s combined XI?
There are more Real players represented here, but that highlights two things – how Jurgen Klopp has made the Reds more than the sum of their parts and just how well they’ve done to reach the final.
And without further ado, here’s the combined XI…
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas
It’s hard to argue against Navas’ pedigree. He’s helped Madrid to win nine trophies, including two Champions League titles, during his three years at the club.
However, there is a sense that he makes too many errors for a club of Madrid’s stature. Despite that, he’s definitely more convincing than Loris Karius.
Right-back: Dani Carvajal
Trent Alexander-Arnold has done brilliantly since coming into the Liverpool side. But Dani Carvajal gets the nod on the right-side of defence.
The 26-year-old set a record of 25 consecutive Champions League appearances without defeat earlier this season. That experience could be vital in Kiev.
Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk
It almost seems like there was a Liverpool before Virgil van Dijk and a Liverpool after Van Dijk this season. The centre-back has made a huge impact since his arrival for a club-record fee in January.
He’s a superb defender and his calming presence has seemed to improve the players around him too. The defensive errors that had plagued Klopp’s time at Anfield have dropped drastically in recent months.
Centre-back: Sergio Ramos
Sergio Ramos has won it all with club and country. And he tends to deliver when it matters too. Few players in any position, let alone defenders, have his habit of coming up with big goals.
The Madrid captain will have to keep Liverpool’s attacking trio quiet if his side are going to add another Champions League title to their collection.
Like Alexander-Arnold over on the right, Andrew Robertson has been a revelation for Liverpool this term, but he needs to do it over a longer period to replace his Real Madrid counterpart.
Marcelo is arguably the best attacking left-back in the game. He’s not as good at the defensive side of the job, but few teams are given a chance to take advantage of that.
Defensive midfield: Casemiro
Real Madrid have more talented players than Casemiro, but there aren’t many who are more important. He’s been vital to their recent success.
The Brazil international provides much-needed balance in midfield, compensating for the attacking instincts of those ahead of him.
Central midfield: Toni Kroos
Whether his teammates are five or 50 yards away, Toni Kroos can find them with laser-guided accuracy.
He’s one of the most accomplished midfielders around and helps Madrid to control games with his passing.
Central midfield: Luka Modric
Toni Kroos tends to retain possession for the La Liga giants, with Luka Modric providing the penetration.
The Croatian wizard gets the ball into their most dangerous players in areas where they can really cause harm. He’s 32-years-old and is still likely to be a key member of the team for a while yet.
Right wing: Mohamed Salah
There are no doubts over the right wing spot. Not after the season Mo Salah has just had.
He became the first-ever player to score over 31 league goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign. Will he make it even better with a Champions League medal?
Left wing: Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo continues to defy belief. He’s got 15 goals in Europe already this season. No one else has more than 10 in the Champions League.
He also set a new record by scoring in 11 consecutive CL games. And if Madrid win on Saturday, he’ll become the first player to win the competition five times since its launch in 1992.
Striker: Roberto Firmino
The Coral experts have opted for Firmino ahead of Karim Benzema up front.
Both players like to drop deep and create as well as score themselves, but Firmino’s relentless pressing gives him the edge.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing