CM Luka Modric
On one side, there are young and energetic midfielders who can keep pressing for 90 minutes, and here I am, selecting a 36-year-old player. But this isn’t any other normal player who’s nearing the end of his career at his age. It is Luka Modric, one of the greatest footballers of all time, a player who has sent a message to the entire world stating that he isn’t done yet, with his performances in the Champions League. If the man isn’t ready to give up, then how can I give up on him and ignore him while making a combined XI of Real Madrid and Liverpool.
The heart of Real Madrid’s defensive structure, Casemiro has to make it to this team. Well, one can go arguing how Casemiro isn’t the most perfect No.6 out there, but he is the best at what he does, and the difference between Real’s defending in the first and second legs against Manchester City shows us the Brazilian’s importance. Liverpool’s Fabinho is another brilliant defensive midfielder and he will make the combined XI of Liverpool with any other team apart from Real Madrid. Fabinho has been Casemiro’s deputy with the Brazilian national team as well, and the situation here isn’t going to be any different. Even the numbers speak for themselves.
CM Toni Kroos
Liverpool’s pressing is the scariest pressing scheme of all European teams, but if there’s one player who can beat that press with ease, it is Toni Kroos. The German Sniper is one of the best midfielders and most press-resistant players out there, and even Liverpool has an idea of his abilities, having an experience of Toni Kroos’ genius last year itself.
Some people, especially those fans who have bought the narrative that Kroos is having a bad season, might not be okay with my choice of selecting three Real Madrid players for the three spots. The same midfield trio got the better of Liverpool last season, and individually, no midfielder at Liverpool is better than these players, in their respective positions. Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool is a world-class midfielder and is having a good season, but I would still choose Kroos over him.