Champions League

Champions League team of the round: Last 16 first legs

Toby Cudworth
Silva and Sterling electrified in Lisbon
Silva and Sterling electrified in Lisbon / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages
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The first leg of every Champions League last 16 tie has now been played, and it's abundantly clear that Manchester City and Liverpool remain the teams to beat in this year's competition.

Pep Guardiola's City smashed Sporting CP 5-0 in Lisbon while Jurgen Klopp's Reds were again terrific as they downed a dangerous Inter 2-0 at San Siro.

Unsurprisingly, a number of their players make 90min's first leg team of the round, but there were also a number of other impressive performances around the continent.

Here's the XI who stood head and shoulders above everybody else.


1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz
Van Dijk (left) celebrates Liverpool's second goal against Inter / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

GK: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid) - The Belgian may have ended up on the losing side against PSG, but things would have been a whole lot worse had he not kept out Lionel Messi's penalty. A great sprawling save low to his left has kept Real in touch.

RB: Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax) - Interest is growing in Moroccan international Mazraoui and it's easy to see why after another impressive performance against Benfica. Strong in the tackle, he was a constant threat on the Ajax right.

CB: Thiago Silva (Chelsea) - 37 years old and still at the very top of his game, Thiago Silva put on a defensive masterclass against Lille. The Ligue 1 champs weren't up to much, sure, but Silva read every passage of play, dominated in the air, blocked, tackled and hustled.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) - A trip to San Siro was never going to be easy for Liverpool, but there probably shouldn't have been any concern with Van Dijk in the heart of defence. Solid as a rock, as usual.

LB: Andy Robertson (Liverpool) - Trent Alexander-Arnold often steals the full-back headlines on Merseyside, but it was the turn of Robertson to star in Milan. Nullified the threat of Denzel Dumfries and his sumptuous corner was glanced home by Roberto Firmino.


2. Midfielders

Bernardo Silva
Bernardo Silva was in terrific form against Sporting / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

CM: N'Golo Kante (Chelsea) - It was a typically effervescent display from Kante at Stamford Bridge, with his insatiable energy in midfield helping Chelsea gain full control of their tie with Lille.

CM: Geoffrey Kondogbia (Atletico Madrid) - Bossed the midfield battle against a below-par Manchester United, winning four tackles on the night.

AM: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) - Two goals against Sporting CP helped Manchester City put their last 16 tie firmly out of sight. So intelligent off the ball, too, helping negate any influence Pedro Goncalves may have had on proceedings.


3. Forwards

Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe scored a wonderful winner against Real Madrid / Sylvain Lefevre/GettyImages

RW: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) - City ran riot in Lisbon and owed plenty of their success up front to the brilliance of Mahrez. Rarely gave the ball away and chalked up a goal and an assist to cap a fine display.

ST: Kylian Mbappe (PSG) - Watch Mbappe's sensational winner against Real Madrid and you'll know why he makes the team. Utterly brilliant.

LW: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) - Perhaps the standout performer of the round. Scored one, set another up and was pretty much faultless in everything he did as Pep Guardiola's side fired a warning shot to those remaining in the Champions League.


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