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Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash between between Chelsea and Liverpool, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads.

Both Chelsea and Liverpool will be looking to make it back-to-back wins at the start of the new Premier League season when they lock horns at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Chelsea opened their season with a 3-1 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion, while Liverpool beat newly-promoted Leeds United 3-2 at Anfield to ensure that their title defence started with three points.

The Blues will be looking to launch a title challenge this season after an extremely busy transfer window, with head coach Frank Lampard handed significant funds to improve his squad.

Liverpool, on the other hand, have completed a deal for Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara and appear to be closing in on Wolverhampton Wanderers attacker Diogo Jota.

Some of the Premier League's biggest stars will be on display in London on Sunday and with that in mind, Sports Mole picks a combined XI from both squads, using only players available for the game.

Combined XI: CHE vs. LIV

In truth, it was not difficult to pick the goalkeeping spot in this particular XI. A lack of new stopper for Chelsea, thus far at least, means that Kepa Arrizabalaga will again start between the sticks this weekend. The Spain international made another mistake against Brighton last time out and has really struggled to make his mark since arriving. Alisson Becker, on the other hand, has become one of the leading goalkeepers in world football during his time at Anfield, and it is not at all difficult to select the Brazil international between the sticks.

Selecting an all-Liverpool back four is perhaps slightly controversial but again was not a particularly difficult call taking everything into consideration. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have been vital to Liverpool's recent success, and the fact that Ben Chilwell is still not available for Chelsea means that the decision was fairly straightforward.

The Blues have signed Thiago Silva this summer to boost their defensive unit, but the Brazilian is not available for this match, while Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger have all struggled to show their best form. As a result, Joe Gomez gets the nod alongside Virgil van Dijk for what is expected to be the Liverpool back four at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Further forward, Jordan Henderson was an inspirational figure for the Reds last season and therefore sails into the XI, while N'Golo Kante has been selected alongside him. Kante had his injury problems last term and struggled to show his best form for long spells, but the 2018 World Cup winner is still one of the best midfielders in world football, and he is chosen ahead of the likes of Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and Fabinho.

Liverpool actually managed to register Thiago in time for this weekend's contest, but it remains to be seen whether the Spain international is involved and therefore we have left him out of the XI. There will be at least one more meeting between these two teams this season, though, and Thiago is certain to be in with a shout of making the next side ahead of their Premier League encounter at Anfield.

Further forward, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are absolute certainties, with the pair proving themselves to be two of the best attackers in European football. Salah scored a hat-trick against Leeds on the opening weekend of the season, and the Liverpool duo would have been in this XI regardless of whether Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic were available for selection on Sunday afternoon.

Kai Havertz, meanwhile, gets the nod in the number 10 position. The Germany international struggled to make his mark against Brighton on his Premier League debut but has proved his class at Bayer Leverkusen over the last couple of seasons and could be a huge player for Chelsea in the coming years.

It was a straight fight between Roberto Firmino and Timo Werner for the centre-forward spot in the side, and the latter gets the nod due to his superior goal threat. Firmino is, unquestionably, a key part of Liverpool's team, but the Brazil international only netted nine times in the Premier League last season, while Werner scored 28 Bundesliga goals and looked very sharp on his debut at the Amex Stadium.


Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Chelsea and Liverpool?

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard pictured on July 7, 2020
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Chelsea season preview - predictions, fixtures, summer signings, starting XI
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