Salah vs Drogba: Picking a combined Liverpool-Chelsea XI

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Alisson did remarkable work during Liverpool’s title-winning campaign in 2019-20, finally bringing the assurance between the sticks that had been missing under his predecessors.

However, in terms of Cech’s overall contribution within English football—primarily as a player who took Chelsea to the next level—he has to get the nod.

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold

One of the world’s finest right-backs across recent seasons, Trent takes his place on the right side of the defence in our combined XI.

He’s struck up a superb partnership with Salah, and has established himself as one of the Premier League’s most eye-catching creative talents.

John Terry

There’s not much love for Terry beyond Chelsea, but even his harshest critics must acknowledge that he knew how to protect the Blues goal.

A leader and a legend at Stamford Bridge, he makes the cut in the heart of the defence.

Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk

Branislav Ivanovic was outstanding in 2009-10, but for all his rugged qualities as a stand-in centre-back, he can’t compete with van Dijk.

A few eyebrows were raised when Liverpool parted with £75 million to sign him from Southampton in January 2018, but—injuries aside—it’s been an inspired signing.

Left-back: Ashley Cole

Andy Robertson is also unfortunate to miss out, but Cole’s consistency and qualities as a left-back make him a natural first pick for this team.

Midfielder: Michael Essien

Before his injuries hit, The Bison was a force of nature, marrying tenacious defensive qualities with lethal contributions going forward.

Midfielder: Jordan Henderson

The only Liverpool invitee in an otherwise all-Chelsea midfield, Henderson made the PFA Team of the Year during the Reds’ title-winning campaign, having led Jurgen Klopp’s Merseysiders by example from the heart of the park.

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His form that term pushes John Obi Mikel out of our Dream Team.

Midfielder: Frank Lampard

An absolute shoo-in in the midfield, Lampard’s goals from deep put him firmly in the conversation to make the greatest Prem XI of all-time.

Critics may say he never truly did it for England, but three Prem titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League in 2012 are testament to his qualities.

Forward: Mohamed Salah

Now established as Africa’s top scorer in the Premier League, Salah has taken his game to new heights over recent months.

His wondergoals against Watford and Manchester City revealed his immense individual qualities, while his hat-trick against Manchester United highlighted his aptitude in the truly biggest fixtures.

Forward: Didier Drogba

One of Chelsea’s three greatest players, Drogba won a swathe of honours during his time at Stamford Bridge, and was particularly lethal in the FA Cup, where he scored in—and won—four FA Cup finals.

He was the driving force behind Chelsea’s unforgettable 2012 Champions League success.

Forward: Sadio Mane

Completing this lethal all-African front three is Mane, who has—alongside Salah—been an influential figure in the Reds’ years of success under Klopp.

Perhaps more subtle and creative than Salah, he nonetheless has 100 Prem goals himself, and is hot on Drogba’s heels.

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English-born Ghanaian teen Malachi Boateng has been knocking on the doors for first-team football after some splendid displays with the youth team. The 19-year-old, who was Crystal Palace’s U-23 Player of the Season, has continued from where he left off and has been instrumental for the young Eagles this season. […]
Malachi Boateng offers Crystal Palace manager Vieira hope for the future
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