Real Madrid vs Liverpool: Champions League Final Combined XI

Oli Stein picks his combined Real Madrid and Liverpool XI ahead of Saturday's Champions League final in Kyiv.

REUTERS/Tony Gentile

  1. 1 GK: Keylor Navas [Real Madrid]

    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

    After three seasons in Merseyside, Jurgen Klopp still hasn't settled on his number one, with Loris Karius taking over from Simon Mignolet halfway through 2017/18.

    Despite rumours linking Real Madrid with a replacement for the Costa Rican, Keylor Navas has remained dependable for Los Blancos and sustained his standing as one of the world's best goalkeepers.

    The 31-year-old also demonstrated his excellent reflexes with two key saves in Madrid's semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich. In total, he made eight saves in the second leg, his highest tally in a Champions League fixture.

  2. 2 RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold [Liverpool]

     REUTERS/Phil Noble

    Despite Dani Carvajal's vast experience in the Champions League -he has collected three winners' medals since 2013-, Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold deserves his spot.

    The 19-year-old has played a key role in the Reds' journey to the final, with particularly mature performances in the quarter-final against Manchester City and semi-final against Roma.

    Carvajal is the safer option, undoubtedly, but Alexander-Arnold is athletic, attacking and more exciting.

  3. 3 CB: Sergio Ramos [Real Madrid]

    REUTERS/Juan Medina

    Real Madrid and the combined XI's captain, Sergio Ramos is forever a dependable centre-back.

    Ramos is greatly experienced, having won virtually every honour available in the game and he's a key talisman at both ends of the pitch.

    Intelligent enough to know when to break up play with a foul and a defender with the soul of a striker, Ramos is more than capable of scoring, with 77 career goals.

    Ramos scores game-changing and season-defining goals. For instance, two headers dumped Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich out of the Champions League in 2014, whilst he scored in two finals against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and 2016.

    The man for the big occasion.

  4. 4 CB: Virgil van Dijk [Liverpool]

    REUTERS/John Sibley

    Criticised sometimes for his clumsiness, the impact Virgil van Dijk has had on the Reds since arriving in January can't be understated.

    He's imposed a calming sense of authority on Liverpool's defence, helping transform a shambolic back four into something significantly more organised.

    For instance, since van Dijk arrived, Liverpool's goals conceded per game in the Premier League dropped from 1.16 to 0.6.

    Perhaps most impressively, the Dutchman has been able to keep Dejan Lovren somewhat under control.

  5. 5 LB: Marcelo [Real Madrid]

    REUTERS/Heino Kalis

    Whilst Andy Robertson has had a very impressive debut season for Liverpool,  you can't look beyond Marcelo to start at left back.

    The Brazilian is one of the world's best in his position and he boasts such a potent attacking threat, it becomes frightening to play against him.

    However, he is somewhat weak defensively, an area that Jurgen Klopp is looking to target.

  6. 6 CDM: James Milner [Liverpool]

    REUTERS/Phil Noble

    Perhaps an unexpected choice given the competition for midfield places at both clubs, but James Milner has had an impressive Champions League campaign.

    He provides organisation and discipline to Liverpool's midfield and despite his perceived lack of mobility as he ages, Milner is still crucial in winning back the ball and setting up counter-attacks.

  7. 7 CM: Toni Kroos [Real Madrid]

    REUTERS/Sergio Perez

    Both sides operate hecticly, playing what appears to be chaotic, fast-paced football, which is why a midfield controller such as Toni Kroos is so important.

    He imposes his control on Real Madrid's playing style and effectively runs the side with his short, high tempo passing.

    He's the dictator every attack-minded side needs and has yet again performed brilliantly for Los Blancos.

  8. 8 CM: Luka Modric [Real Madrid]

    REUTERS/Albert Gea

    There's no Kroos without Luka Modric at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the two together form one of the most feared midfield passing duo in world football.

    Modric goes from strength-to-strength each season and his creativity, range of passing and exquisite vision on the ball has been key in Los Blancos' run to the final. 

  9. 9 RW: Mo Salah [Liverpool]

    REUTERS/Carl Recine

    Earning comparisons to Lionel Messi and having a documentary made about his rapid rise to stardom, Mo Salah is the success story of the season.

    He set a new goal-scoring record in a 38-game Premier League season, netting 32 times to win the Golden Boot, and has 10 goals in the Champions League.

    He was instrumental in Liverpool's run to the final, scoring in every stage of the tournament, and his two goals and two assists in the first leg against Roma gave them the momentum to see the game through.

  10. 10 ST: Roberto Firmino [Liverpool]

    REUTERS/Carl Recine

    Arguably, it's the role of Roberto Firmino that allows Salah to do what he does best.

    Liverpool's striker has been in the form of his life in 2017/18, scoring 28 goals and assisting 14 across all competitions. He deserves to be in the combined XI on this record alone, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo in Champions League goals scored this year.

    However, it's his movement that aids Salah in his goal-scoring. He's a nightmare to mark in close quarters and his fluidity in the final third drags defenders out of position and creates space for Salah and Sadio Mane.

    This will be important in Kyiv.

  11. 11 LW: Cristiano Ronaldo [Real Madrid]

    REUTERS/Heino Kalis

    What more needs to be said about Cristiano Ronaldo other than he's the Champions League's highest ever goal-scorer?

    With 44 goals in 43 domestic games, the Portuguese also has 15 in this season's Champions League and, simply put, he's the man for the key moment.

    For example, he scored a beautiful bicycle kick in the first leg against Juventus and kept his cool to send Los Blancos through to the semi-final with a last-minute penalty in the second.

Real Madrid 6-5 Liverpool

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Oli Stein

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016.

Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent.

Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_