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Liverpool vs Arsenal: Combined XI

Ahead of Sunday’s visit of Arsenal to Anfield, we pick a combined XI from the two squads – read ours then share yours below.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday September 2, 2012: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sunday’s showdown on Merseyside is important for both the Reds and the Gunners, as the two battle for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

With Manchester United seemingly pulling clear in third and Southampton predictably falling away once injuries and suspensions have hit them, there is every chance that vital fourth Champions League spot could come down to Liverpool and Arsenal.

Both sides have some wonderful, and mediocre, talent at their disposal, but who makes it into a combined XI?

(NOTE: Assuming all players fit and on form)

GOALKEEPER- Wojciech Szczesny

Like a few positions, neither Liverpool and Arsenal are exactly oozing world-class brilliance in goal. Szczesny has to get the nod though.

The 24-year-old Poland international can make the odd howler but he is consistent on the whole, while Simon Mignolet and Brad Jones are both total disaster areas for the Reds.

RIGHT-BACK- Mathieu Debuchy

Debuchy is not as solid as Bacary Sagna was for Arsene Wenger’s side, but the France international still has plenty of attacking quality and defensive resilience.

Glen Johnson remains increasingly erratic week in, week out, while Javier Manquillo is still very much maturing as a player. Jon Flanagan would be the closest to ousting the Frenchman, but he is still not the finished article.

CENTRE-BACK- Laurent Koscielny

The 29-year-old has matured into one of the finest centre-backs in the Premier League, and Arsenal struggle hugely without him. He is one of their most influential players.

Although predominantly left-sided, he can slot comfortably in on the right in place of teammate Per Mertesacker, who reads the game well but is so slow it’s problematic.

CENTRE-BACK- Mamadou Sakho

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 23, 2014: Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho in action against Middlesbrough during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sakho is comfortably Liverpool’s best centre-back, and his lack of playing time even when fit is completely baffling.

The 24-year-old is dominant in the air, good on the ball and generally commanding. Martin Skrtel is too erratic, Kolo Toure is past his best and Dejan Lovren has been abysmal in a Reds shirt so far.

LEFT-BACK- Kieran Gibbs

The Englishman is arguably the Gunners’ most underrated player, and has been terrific for them for a number of years now.

Gibbs may not be as adventurous going forward as Alberto Moreno, but he is underrated in that area and very solid defensively. Jose Enrique and Nacho Monreal are lacking.

CENTRE MIDFIELD- Jordan Henderson

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 2, 2014: Liverpool's Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the third goal against Leicester City during the Premier League match at Filbert Way. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Henderson might not be having the greatest of seasons, but he is still undoubtedly one of the first names on Brendan Rodgers’ team-sheet. The 24-year-old offers energy, drive, understated creativity and the odd goal here and there.

Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are limited, as is Lucas Leiva, while Steven Gerrard, despite his enduring quality on the ball, is not the force he once was.

CENTRE MIDFIELD- Aaron Ramsey

Like Henderson, Ramsey has not had the outstanding season he did in 2013/14 to date. On his day he is a fabulous footballer though.

The Wales international has tremendous technical ability, brilliant fitness and an eye for the spectacular. He is the standout central midfielder from either side. Jack Wilshere needs to improve his consistency and attitude if he is to reach Ramsey’s level.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD- Mesut Ozil

Admittedly, the German World Cup winner has not featured for a while because of injury, and has struggled for form in an Arsenal shirt, but he is a world-class player when on top of his game.

The 26-year-old has superb creativity and touch, and the number of assists he racks up are often not fully appreciated. He divides opinion, but he is a class act. Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Santi Cazorla miss out.

RIGHT FORWARD- Alexis Sanchez

The former Barcelona star has been one of the outstanding players in the Premier League this season, dragging Arsenal through games with his skill, goals and fantastic work ethic. Remind you of anyone?

Liverpool tried to sign the 25-year-old in the summer but lost out to the north Londoners; what a signing he would have been.

The likes of Theo Walcott, Lazar Markovic and Lukas Podolski are all talented in their own right, but not close to the Chilean’s world-class level.

LEFT FORWARD- Raheem Sterling

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 17, 2014: Liverpool's Raheem Sterling scores the first goal against Bournemouth during the Football League Cup 5th Round match at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sterling is the most exciting young player in the country at the moment, and such has been his meteoric rise, he is now extremely key for both Liverpool and England. The 20-year-old’s form may have dipped at times this season, but that happens to every player.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is another Englishman with great potential, but he is not as much of an all-round threat as Sterling currently.

STRIKER- Daniel Sturridge

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 17, 2014: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the second goal against Southampton during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 25-year-old has been a monumental loss to the Reds this season, and his return from injury can’t come soon enough. His finishing, pace and movement are outstanding, and he will only improve in the coming years.

Mario Balotelli is clearly a big talent but he is far too unpredictable, while Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud have some good attributes but are not top class strikers.

What would your combined Liverpool and Arsenal XI be? Let us know in the comments section.

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