Newcastle United legend Shay Given has snubbed Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker, naming only Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk in his combined XI with the Magpies. The two sides will clash in the Premier League at St James’ Park on Sunday (February 19).The Reds have endured a woeful campaign, exiting the FA Cup and Carabao Cup early. They have also largely struggled in the league, sitting in ninth place, trailing fourth-placed Newcastle by nine points.
Given has said that only Salah and Van Dijk currently get in a combined XI made up of Liverpool and his former club’s players. The Irishman’s omission of Alisson is questionable, though. He told Leo Vegas:
“Alisson is a brilliant keeper, but Nick Pope gets the nod for all his clean sheets this season. I’d have (Kieran) Trippier at right-back, who’s having a great season. Virgil van Dijk and Sven Botman would be my centre-backs, with Dan Burn, on current form, at left-back.”
Alisson is regarded as one of Europe’s top goalkeepers. The Brazilian shot-stopper has featured 213 times, keeping 95 clean sheets, since arriving at Anfield. He has kept nine clean sheets in 29 games across competitions this season and sits joint-fifth with saves made in the Premier League (33).
However, Pope has been enjoying a stellar debut season at St James’ Park. The English goalkeeper has made 27 appearances, keeping 16 clean sheets. He holds an 82% save percentage, placing him second among keepers in the English top flight. Given continued by choosing his midfield and attack:
“Their (Liverpool’s) midfielders are all struggling currently, so I’d have Joelinton, Joe Willocknand Bruno Guimarães. At the other end of the pitch, I’d go with Mohamed Salah on the right side, Callum Wilson up top, and Anthony Gordon on the left.”
Reds fans will be relieved to see at least Salah and Van Dijk make the combined team.
The Egyptian forward has 18 goals and seven assists in 32 games during a difficult season for his side. Meanwhile, Van Dijk has endured an injury-riddled campaign, featuring 24 times, scoring twice and helping his side keep six clean sheets.