The Merseyside Derby is just around the corner and there are plenty of reasons why we should all be expecting a cracking game. Liverpool are flying high in the league and have lost just one of the last six, Everton haven’t lost at home this season. Both teams are playing entertaining and attacking football, but which players would make it into our Merseyside XI?
Based on the average ratings taken from the good folk at whoscored.com, we’ve compiled a team of the best Liverpool and Everton players this season.
OK, let’s firstly address the formation issue. We all know 4-4-2 is as out-dated as the church’s view on homosexuals, and we’re not going to hypothetically dominate the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup with an ancient system. 4-3-3 it is then.
And what an attacking trio it is. Together, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Romelu Lukaku have contributed 21 goals and four assists in just 24 appearances this season. In his six appearances Suarez has averaged six shots at goal every game and three key passes every game, putting his team mates in scoring positions.
Daniel Sturridge is hardly a stranger to the onion bag with eight goals himself, and the Englishman boasts a 21 per cent conversion rate in the Premier League. Lukaku has averaged a league goal every 110 minutes he’s on the pitch for Everton and with a 28 per cent conversion rate he finishes off a ruthless and deadly front three.
Some people may argue that this side would get overrun in midfield if they faced an opposition who packed the middle of the park. Well, we make two points in response. Firstly, this is a hypothetical situation, and secondly, we’d still fancy our Liverpool threesome.
Steven Gerrard is hard to ignore despite being closer to a free bus pass than most. He has racked up two goals and four assists in 11 games and gives the Merseyside XI an attacking drive. He is still the man who gets on the ball and pulls the strings, averaging just shy of 70 passes a game.
Lucas Leiva and Jordan Henderson balance the side with their ability to break up play. Lucas makes more tackles a game than any other player in the league with 5.6 a game on average. He also boasts a 90.6 per cent pass success rate proving he’s more than just a disruptive influence. Henderson has chipped in with 37 tackles and 35 clearances this season, along with 18 key passes and one assist in 11 appearances.
Defensively the Merseyside XI is solid. Combined Phil Jagielka and Martin Skrtel have made 29 tackles, 38 interceptions, and 17 blocks. Jags has won 40 of his 68 ariel duels this season while on the deck Skrtel has a pass success rate of 91.2 per cent.
At right-back Glen Johnson has only been dribbled past three times this season and has made 20 tackles. Going forward he has a 70 per cent accuracy rate with his long balls and has played seven key passes in six appearances. Leighton Baines on the other flank has two goals to his name and has made 34 interceptions and 25 clearances.
In goal Simon Mignolet just pips Tim Howard. Both keepers have conceded just 10 goals this season but the Belgian’s crucial penalty save against Stoke gives him a tiny edge, as Howard’s attempted penalty save against Sergio Aguero ended up going in off his head.