Sturridge and Alli snubbed: Sky pundit selects combined Liverpool and Tottenham XI
By Tony Hughes
Phil Thompson has selected his Tottenham v Liverpool combined XI ahead of Saturday’s showdown – and snubbed Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli.
The Sky Sports pundit has selected six Spurs players and five from former club Liverpool to make up the picks for his composite team.
Intriguingly, Thompson has predominantly chosen Tottenham players in the defensive positions and Liverpool men in the more attacking slots, apart from the centre-forward position.
In addition to Sturridge and Alli, the likes of Christian Eriksen, Emre Can, Erik Lamela and Mousa Dembele also miss out.
“I think this team would have a good chance at winning the Premier League,” Thompson told the Sky Sports website. “It’s solid at the back with one of the best holding midfielders and has creativity and goals up front.
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“I don’t think there’s much debate to be had about the goalkeeper, then at right-back I’m going with Nathaniel Clyne because he’s a bit more defensively reliable than Kyle Walker.
“I couldn’t realistically go with any of Liverpool’s other defenders and Eric Dier is as good as most defensive midfielders around, while we don’t really have a good fit in that role.”
Liverpool, who finished eighth in the Premier League last season after struggling to score goals, partly due to injuries, availability issues and a gruelling fixture list, provide most of the attacking players in Thompson’s team.
The boyhood Liverpool fan added to Sky Sports: “Our creativity and flair players are better. You could see that against Arsenal. Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho’s link-up is superb.
“Spurs also have quality in that area but Alli obviously hasn’t started the season so he’s not really in contention for the team, while Eriksen is similar to Coutinho and Firmino.
“For my lone striker I’m going for Harry Kane, who gives you a bit of height, plus the creativity and goalscoring. I think Daniel Sturridge is very close but he’s in and out and if I had to go for just one striker then it would have to be Kane.”
Thompson’s combined Tottenham and Liverpool XI: Lloris; Clyne, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho, Lallana; Kane.
In other Tottenham news, Southampton have agreed a club-record fee for Spurs target Sofiane Boufal.