The Champions League final goes down tomorrow, and ahead of the action, Steve McManaman has picked his strongest combined Liverpool and Real Madrid XI.
The former England international enjoyed very successful stints at both clubs. He captivated fans at Anfield and the Bernabeu respectively with his creativity, tremendous dribbling skills and ability to pick the perfect pass.
McManaman utilised those skills to win two Champions Leagues, two La Ligas, an FA Cup and a League Cup.
However, this weekend, he’ll have to sit back with his hands over his eyes as his two beloved teams go to war for the biggest prize in club football.
Before the match, he spoke exclusively to Sporf, courtesy of FedEx, and analysed both squads before picking his best possible starting line-up.
Read: Jurgen Klopp net worth 2022: How much has the Liverpool boss earned in his career?
Steve McManaman best combined Real Madrid/Liverpool XI
Steve McManaman: “I don’t know about this one. I’ve got a strong opinion about every other position, apart from this one, because Thibaut Courtois has had a great season this year. He’s probably had his best season in a Real Madrid shirt.
“I mean, I’d pick Alisson because I think he’s had more clean sheets. But that was a close one, really. I could’ve gone either way with the goalkeepers. He’s really good with his feet, Courtois. Sometimes you don’t see enough of Real Madrid to have a solid opinion. He’s had a really good season, Courtois. But I’d probably go with Alisson.”
Defenders: Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold
McManaman: “I’d pick all of Liverpool’s back four. I think they’ve been excellent this year. Mendy, Carvajal, Militao. I mean, Alaba’s done really well since he’s come in, huge amount of experience.
“But the fact that Liverpool have kept so many clean sheets this year and the fact that the two full-backs have had so many assists and chipped in with goals, I’d pick all of Liverpool’s back four.”
Midfielders: Fabinho, Luka Modric, Thiago
McManaman: “I’m slightly biased towards Liverpool, to be very honest, because I’ve seen them more often this year. So I’d probably pick Fabinho.
“I mean, I love Casemiro. He’s been around for so long now, hasn’t he? But I’d probably pick Fabinho, you know, he was at Real Madrid when he was younger. So I’d probably pick Fabinho at the moment.
“I have to put Luka in. I have to put Luka in. Then I’d probably put in Thiago. Do I leave Jordan Henderson out, the skipper?”
When asked about Toni Kroos, he instantly replied: “No. Only because, five years ago, they’d all have been in the team. It’s just that, of course, Liverpool is the emerging team. And [Real] they’re the sort of, not declining, that’s the wrong word. But these players are just getting that little bit older.
“So they’re probably getting a little bit more vulnerable. Whereas Liverpool is sort of on the rise. So maybe Thiago, Fabinho and Luka.”
Forwards: Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah
McManaman: “The forward line speaks for itself. Karim, Sadio, Mo. The potential Ballon d’Or winners.”
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
“Jurgen manages the team,” McManaman said. “Carlo’s only been there 10 months, hasn’t he? And he managed Everton last year. “
“Super-sub to bring on,” McManaman explains. “I think this year it would be Rodrygo, scored against Chelsea from that pass from Luka Modric. He scored two against Manchester City late on. He’d be my super-sub to go to when you need a goal.”
Featured Image Credit: Getty