Liverpool

Picking a Combined Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur XI

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMarch 29, 2014

Picking a Combined Liverpool-Tottenham Hotspur XI

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    Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

    Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield could be a pivotal game in the context of the Premier League title race, so let's pick a combined Reds-Spurs XI.

    With second-placed Liverpool 12 points ahead of sixth-placed Spurs, you would expect most of this combined XI will comprise of Liverpool players, but how many Spurs players would make your joint XI?

    Don't hesitate to comment below with your views.

GK: Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    From a statistical perspective, Simon Mignolet has marginally outperformed Hugo Lloris in the Premier League this season. 

    League OnlyLlorisMignolet
       
    Saves8087
    Goals Conceded3939
    Saves Per Goal Conceded 2.12.2
    Save Percentage67.871.3
    Clean Sheets 129
       
    Source: Fox Soccer  
       

    Mignolet has made countless crucial saves such as denying Stoke City right winger Jonathan Walters from the penalty spot and stopping Southampton wide forward Jay Rodriguez from scoring, which was pointed out by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool's official website:

    Away from home there are critical moments in games and he [Mignolet] had made that save going the wrong way. That's what he is, a brilliant shot-stopper.

RB: Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Glen Johnson has no competition for the starting right-back spot because Jon Flanagan is chopping and changing from right to left. 

    When Johnson is fully fit and not restricted by a bothersome ankle, he is one of the most dangerous attacking right-backs in the Premier League. 

    He gives Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers another dimension, which is why the management wants to retain Johnson, per James Pearce at the Liverpool Echo

CB: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Liverpool have seen how bad Martin Skrtel can be with three own goals this season and an inability to organise the back line.

    However, when he is in form, he is a reliable passing outlet, who is strong in the air and is a threat from set-pieces. 

    Skrtel has scored more goals in the Premier League this season (six) than Chelsea's £50 million-valued Fernando Torres (four). 

CB: Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Yes, Mamadou Sakho has not been a week-in, week-out starter, but when he does play, he is class epitomised. 

    He brings serenity to Liverpool's defence, he is a physical presence, accurate passer (91.8 pass completion percentage) and does not dive into tackles (has not accumulated a yellow card in the Premier League yet).

    He looks like a completely different player to the Paris Saint-Germain version, who was prone to mistakes.

    If Sakho continues to improve, he is going to be a future stalwart of Liverpool's defence. 

     

LB: Jon Flanagan (Liverpool)

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Jon Flanagan is a diligent, hard-working and reliable player for Liverpool.

    He throws his weight around, for example making 11 tackles against Manchester United.

    He overpowered United's attacking midfielder Juan Mata to such an extent that the Spaniard refused to play anywhere near Flanagan.

    Flanagan's versatility in playing right- and left-back is handy, but the management needs to figure out his permanent position: right-back or left-back?

RCM: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Jordan Henderson is finally showing signs that he can live up to his £16 million price tag, per Rory Smith at the Telegraph.

    Henderson has been at his creative best for Liverpool, accumulating seven assists and being able to open up opposing defences. 

    Not only is he an incisive passer, but he is an accurate one, as he completes 86.9 percent of his passes.

CM: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Steven Gerrard is showing no signs of deterioration.

    He has started 26 of 31 Premier League games for Liverpool this season, continuing to be an all-round midfielder. 

    He has registered 78 tackles, intercepted 37 passes, scored 11 goals and created another nine.  

    He has been waiting for a league title since 1998 and he could lead Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title this season. 

LCM: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur)

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    Pete Norton/Getty Images

    Nabil Bentaleb is a 6'2", technically gifted, ball-playing footballer who glides across midfield. 

    He wants the ball, he can make tackles (36 in 13 Premier League games) and he is an accurate distributor making 87.5 percent of his passes.   

    This is why Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood has tunnel vision and is persisting with the 19-year-old Algerian international even when he has made naive mistakes. 

    Next season, Bentaleb needs to work on spreading the ball around the field more often, because while keeping the ball is good, he has a habit of playing the ball backwards which stops Spurs' attacking momentum. 

     

CAM: Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur)

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    Steve Bardens/Getty Images

    Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood plays Christian Eriksen on the left, even though the Danish international drifts in and performs his best centrally. 

    Eriksen is turning into Spurs' most valuable player this season and he cost the club £11.5 million, per BBC Sport, which was £14.8 million cheaper than Erik Lamela (£25.8 million, per the Guardian). 

    Eriksen was involved in every one of Spurs' three goals during their 3-2 win over Southampton: He scored twice and set up Gylfi Sigurdsson for the winner. 

     

CF: Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Liverpool owner John W. Henry bluffed everyone when Arsenal submitted a £40 million plus one pound offer for deep-lying forward Luis Suarez

    It was not a clause which informed Suarez of a club's interest, it triggered a buyout clause. 

    "Contracts don't seem to mean a lot in England, actually, in world football," Henry said, per the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (h/t the Guardian). "Since apparently these contracts don't seem to hold, we took the position that we're just not selling."

    What a gusty move since Henry risked being sued for breaching Suarez's contract. 

    Suarez got over his sulky demeanour, and now he is smiling, enjoying his football and is on course to become to the greatest Premier League footballer ever. 

    Suarez's 28 goals and 11 assists in 26 league games trumps FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo's 27 goals and seven assists in 26 games for Real Madrid this season. 

CF: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Fernando Torres or Daniel Sturridge?

    Chelsea opted for Torres, and during Andre Villas-Boas' tenure, he did not see Sturridge as a No. 9, rather the Blues' answer to Hulk.

    "He [Sturridge] has natural ability to play on the right flank," Villas-Boas said, per Duncan White at the Telegraph. "He has the opportunity to offer me the characteristics I had with Hulk when I was at Porto."

    Now, 30 goals and 10 assists in 37 Premier League games later for Liverpool, letting Sturridge go is one of Chelsea's worst transfer decisions ever. 

    Sturridge's partnership with Luis Suarez is at times telepathic. 

     

    @allanjianga

    Statistics via WhoScored

     

     

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