Suarez in but no room for Rooney - the Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United & Chelsea combined XI

Spurs travel to Anfield on Sunday in the Premier League while Rafa Benitez comes up against old foe Sir Alex Ferguson in the FA Cup, but who makes our starting lineup?
By Jamie Dunn

Sunday afternoon presents something of a dilemma for football fans as Liverpool take on Tottenham at Anfield at 4pm, while Chelsea face Manchester United in the FA Cup just half an hour later.

Some of the biggest names in the English game are in action simultaneously, not least four of the top five goal scorers in the Premier League.

But who would feature in a combined XI involving all four teams? suggests an XI based on current form - which is sure to divide opinion - and invites readers to offer up their strongest starting lineups.


In goal, Hugo Lloris gets the nod ahead of Petr Cech, Pepe Reina and David de Gea. After some initial teething problems and competition from veteran Brad Friedel, the France international has established himself as Tottenham's No.1 with some commanding performances.

The Spanish pairing have had their problems this season, with De Gea being held accountable most recently for a late Clint Dempsey equaliser against Spurs, while Reina has recovered from a blip by his own high standards, making a handful of outstanding saves in Liverpool's 4-0 victory over Wigan.

Cech has rarely been considered culpable for Chelsea's struggles this season, but having struggled with an injury in 2013, the 30-year-old is just edged out by the impressive Lloris.


At right-back, Rafael is selected after establishing himself as Manchester United's first choice right-back this season. Glen Johnson narrowly misses out despite winning over a number of doubters in 2012-13, while Kyle Walker is pipped having had to adapt his game to a less dynamic style under Andre Villas-Boas and Cesar Azpilicueta continues to adjust to English football following his January move to Chelsea.

Despite having missed a large chunk of the current campaign, the fit-again Nemanja Vidic slots in at centre-back. The Premier League leaders have lost just twice in all competitions when their captain has featured this season, and conceded more than one goal in a game only three times.

Vidic is partnered by Jan Vertonghen, the Tottenham defender who was most recently the subject of high praise for his role in Spurs' north London derby victory over Arsenal. Strong in the tackle but also willing to carry the ball out from the back, the Belgian has been consistent in the middle or at left-back this season, and is preferred to the likes of Gary Cahill, Daniel Agger, Rio Ferdinand and team-mate Michael Dawson.

Ashley Cole completes the back four, having done enough to persuade Chelsea to offer him a one-year contract extension, despite his advancing years. Patrice Evra loses out despite his uncharacteristically strong goal return, while Jose Enrique has played in a number of different positions and Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been absent through injury


Liverpool's Lucas anchors the midfield. The Merseyside outfit managed to win just six games over a 20-game period in which the Brazilian was absent through injury from late August to December. Since the midfielder's return, however, Brendan Rodgers' side have notched 11 victories in just 17 outings - a telling statistic which sees the 26-year-old edge out Michael Carrick, for all the England international's undoubted ability to pick a pass.

Doubt still surrounds his Chelsea future, but Frank Lampard is picked as an experienced head to play just in front of Lucas, due largely to his continued goal threat. The 34-year-old looks set to overtake Bobby Tambling as the Blues' all-time top goal scorer this season, and has been one of a handful of plus points in an otherwise inconsistent.

Legendary Manchester United veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are not in the side after making just 23 and 19 appearances for the Premier League leaders respectively this season, while Steven Gerrard, like Carrick, is extremely unlucky to be left out.

The attacking midfield positions are occupied by two of the most entertaining players in world football in Juan Mata and Gareth Bale. Fresh off the back of winning Euro 2012 with Spain, Mata has been a delight to watch for Chelsea all season, pulling the strings behind the striker. In a side blessed with plenty of attacking talent in Oscar and Eden Hazard, it is Mata who continues to regularly catch the eye.

Bale, meanwhile, is in breathtaking form, scoring 10 of Tottenham's last 15 goals in an impressive unbeaten run which has seen Spurs leapfrog Chelsea into third place in the Premier League and advance to the last 16 of the Europa League.


The strikers pick themselves. It is almost impossible to leave out one of Luis Suarez or Robin van Persie, so both feature in our combined XI.

Suarez has been simply electrifying for Liverpool this season, scoring 28 goals in all competitions for the Anfield club, and 21 in just 27 starts in the Premier League alone. The Uruguay international has found the back of the net six times in his last three outings, and looks set to terrorise Spurs at Anfield in tandem with Daniel Sturridge, who has five goals in seven games for Liverpool already.

Despite having embarked on something of a dry spell which has returned just one goal in eight games in all competitions, Van Persie completes our side. The former Arsenal man is just two strikes behind Suarez in the Premier League goal charts and has scored 23 times in 36 appearances since making the summer move to Old Trafford.

Jermain Defoe misses the cut after injuries disrupted an impressive run of form in which the striker scored 14 times for Spurs, while Demba Ba has not yet hit the heights of his time at Newcastle, Fernando Torres continues to come under scrutiny despite scoring 16 times this campaign, and Wayne Rooney is a victim of his Old Trafford team-mate's excellent season so far.

Suggested combined Liverpool, Tottenham, Man Utd & Chelsea XI


Hugo Lloris



Nemanja Vidic

Jan Vertonghen

Ashley Cole



Juan Mata

Frank Lampard

Gareth Bale

Luis Suarez

Robin van Persie


Do you agree with our suggested best combined Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United starting XI? If not, who should be there instead and which players should get the chop? Which way is Sunday's crunch match going to go?

Let us know your views on the debate by posting a comment below or by getting in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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