Saturday 15 December 2018

Liverpool Composite XI: The 2005 Champions League-winning team just shades it ahead of Jurgen Klopp's current side

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Liverpool face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday looking to emulate the Reds side that famously triumphed in 2005.

Here, we look at how a combined XI made up of players from both sides could look ahead of the final.

Goalkeeper: Jerzy Dudek (2005)

Liverpool have had problems in goal this season and, although Loris Karius has improved since taking over from Simon Mignolet permanently in January, Istanbul penalty shoot-out hero Dudek gets the nod as keeper.

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Liverpool 'keeper Jerzy Dudek makes the match-winning penalty save from Andriy Shevchenko during the 2005 final

Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (2018)

The 19-year-old has excelled in recent months, playing a key role in Liverpool’s run to the final with mature performances in the knockout ties against Manchester City and Roma. The 2005 team had the dependable Steve Finnan but Alexander-Arnold, who has earned an England World Cup call, is the exciting option.

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Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold. Photo: John Powell/Getty Images

Centre-back: Sami Hyypia (2005)

The Finn was a commanding presence in Liverpool’s defence for many years. Virgil van Dijk has brought renewed confidence and strength to the current back line but his Liverpool career is still in its infancy. Hyypia’s consistency over a decade earns him his spot.

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Sami Hyypia. Photo: Clive Rose, Getty Images

Centre-back: Jamie Carragher (2005)

Along with Steven Gerrard, Carragher provided the heartbeat of the 2005 side as well as its backbone. His excellence and commitment over a career spent entirely with the Merseysiders makes him an obvious choice.

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Jamie Carragher (Richard Sellers/PA)

Left-back: Andy Robertson (2018)

The Scot has proved a surprise hit at Anfield since breaking into the team in the second half of the season, solving a long-running left-back problem. John Arne Riise was consistent in the position back in 2005, but he actually played left wing in Istanbul while Djimi Traore was at left-back, so Robertson plays.

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Andrew Robertson

Midfield: Dietmar Hamann (2005)

Germany international Hamann was only on the bench in Istanbul but his introduction in a half-time reshuffle helped spark Liverpool’s fightback. Current captain Jordan Henderson is unlucky not to make the team but Hamann has the edge.

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Didi Hamann

Midfield: Steven Gerrard (2005)

Gerrard was the chief inspiration as Liverpool fought back from 3-0 down 13 years ago, scoring the Reds’ first and winning the penalty that led to their equaliser. His dominance of midfield and the way he galvanised his team-mates makes him an obvious selection.

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Steven Gerrard and Rafael Benitez lift the Champions League trophy in 2005. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Midfield: Xabi Alonso (2005)

The Spaniard was also a world-class performer, capable of dictating the pace of games against the best of sides with his superb passing ability. He dovetailed superbly with Gerrard and it makes sense to pair them together again.

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Xabi Alonso

Forward: Mohamed Salah (2018)

The front line is dominated by the current crop and rightly so after an outstanding campaign. Salah has led the way by scoring 44 goals in all competitions, the most by a Liverpool player in a single season since Ian Rush hit a club record 47 in 1983-84.

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah

Forward: Roberto Firmino (2018)

The Brazilian has also been brilliant throughout the season, scoring 27 goals and laying on 16 assists. He plays in the centre of the forward three and has had a far greater impact than Milan Baros, who started as centre forward in 2005.

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Liverpool footballer Roberto Firmino

Forward: Sadio Mane (2018)

Mane may have been the junior partner in the front line this season but his statistics are still impressive having scored 19 goals this season. He also works well with Salah and Firmino and his pace is a constant threat for defenders.

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Liverpool's Sadio Mane. Photo: PA

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