LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19:  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool reacts as Ronald Koeman manager of Everton looks on during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on December 19, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Liverpool vs Everton: Picking the Best Combined XI Ahead of Saturday's Merseyside Derby

Liverpool host Everton at Anfield in what promises to be an intense Merseyside derby, and a match where the outcome could be massive for either side's season. 


A Liverpool win would put Jurgen Klopp's men on course to clinch a top four spot, but a defeat and Everton's outside chance at the Champions League places becomes significantly better, as they would move to within three points of their red rivals. 


With two strong sides on display, here is a combined XI of the best players available for the game.

1. Joel Robles

Joel Robles has been in brilliant form for Everton ever since he replaced Maarten Stekelenburg between the posts at Goodison Park. His nine clean sheets in 13 games have been a major reason behind Everton's rise up the table.


In contrast neither Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius have inspired any sort of confidence at Anfield. With both keepers susceptible to errors and neither able to truly nail down their spot between the posts, Robles is the obvious choice. 

2. Nathaniel Clyne

England's Nathaniel Clyne makes the cut after Seamus Coleman's horrific leg break against Wales on Friday. The defender has been solid in what has been a shaky Liverpool back four this season. 


His ability to provide a significant threat going forward with his pace, whilst also possessing great energy to get back are all crucial components of the modern full back. 

3. Ashley Williams

Ashely Williams has been an integral part of Everton's team this season since his summer move from the Liberty Stadium. The Welsh rock has carried his good form in Euro 2016 straight into his career at Goodison Park. 


Some wondered whether Williams would be able to make the step up from Swansea to Everton, yet the centre back has looked at home within Ronald Koeman's set up, turning in solid dependable performances for much of the season. 

4. Phil Jagielka

With Liverpool's defence being particularly unreliable this season it is an all-blue central defensive pairing. No side performs well without a commanding captain and Everton veteran Phil Jagielka has been impressive once again this term. 


The defensive general has forged a formidable partnership with Williams that has grown in strength since the turn of the year. It has allowed Everton transformed the top six into the top seven, breaking away from the mid-table battle. 

5. James Milner

It is a tough call between James Milner and Leighton Baines, but the Liverpool man gets the nod on this occasion. Many believed Liverpool were in serious trouble when they were left with Alberto Moreno as the only recognised left back at the club. 


It is testament to Milner's adaptability that those concerns were vanished by October. The workhorse is one of the most dependable players in the league, and will rarely dip below a 7/10. 


To make a position change as dramatic as that from central midfield to left back look so routine takes some doing, and for that reason Milner starts in this team. 

6. Philippe Coutinho

He may not be in his most rich vein of form, but on his day Coutinho is undoubtedly one of the Premier League's finest players. His supreme technical ability and spark to make something out of nothing means he simply has to be in this team. 


Nonetheless, the Brazilian must improve on his current form if he is to have any say in the outcome of the Merseyside derby this weekend. In fact, Liverpool will need the trickster to rediscover his early season magic if the Reds are to clinch a top four place.

7. Idrissa Gana Gueye

Jordan Henderson would have taken this spot if he were fit, but alas - the injury which kept him out of England's international fixtures is yet to disappear completely, leaving him unavailable for the derby and, far more importantly, this XI. 


Everton's summer signing Idrissa Gana Gueye is a more than capable replacement though. Slightly more defensive-minded than the England man, Gueye has been one of the Toffees' standout performers this season at the heart of the Everton midfield.

8. Ross Barkley

Whilst many are still looking for more from Ross Barkley, the 23-year-old has performed well under Koeman scoring five times this season and registering nine assists. Although he may not be as consistent as is required at the top level just yet, there can be no doubting the midfielder's potential. 


With clubs such as Chelsea and Tottenham rumoured to be circling this summer as his contract enters its final year a big move could be in the offing. 

9. Georginio Wijnaldum

Another Liverpool midfielder lost to injury - Adam Lallana looks set to miss a few weeks with a knock picked up on international duty, but he's replaced in this side by the man who could well take on his roaming, creative role in Jurgen Klopp's midfield. 


Georginio Wijnaldum has been quietly impressing for the Reds this season, and the location of the game could see him thrive once again - all 16 of his Premier League goals in the last two seasons have come at home. 

10. Sadio Mane

Liverpool's collapse whilst Mane was away with Senegal on Africa Cup of Nations duty speaks volumes about the importance of this player to Jurgen Klopp's side. 


Mane has 12 goals and five assists for Liverpool this season, an impressive contribution, although the forward is about far more than simply goals in this team. His work rate and blistering pace are vital to Klopp's style of play, and without him the Reds attack is severely blunted. 

11. Romelu Lukaku

The very first name on this team sheet, Romelu Lukaku. The brilliant Belgian has been in scintillating form this season, scoring 21 Premier League goals to put himself top of the scoring charts. The 23-year-old's form has seen him linked with a number of top clubs this summer - including a possible return to Chelsea.


If Lukaku is on his game against Liverpool then Everton will win, it is hard to see how Liverpool's leaky defence can contain the striker should he be at his best.