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23rd May 2018

Jordan Henderson makes it into Mark Lawrenson’s Real Madrid vs. Liverpool combined XI

Casemiro misses out

Darragh Murphy

The big one is almost upon us

Real Madrid and Liverpool are set to do battle on Saturday night to decide the best team in Europe and some of the most thrilling attacking talent in world football will be on display.

Goals are all but guaranteed in Kiev and while Real Madrid are favourites to claim their 13th European Cup, Jurgen Klopp will have his Reds side set up to give it a right go and run at the Los Blancos defence early and often.

In the run-up to this weekend’s clash, we can expect to hear several pundits’ takes on which players would make it into the other team and Mark Lawrenson has kept his seemingly unwavering faith in Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson by picking him in his combined XI of the Champions League finalists.

Writing in his Paddy Power column, Lawrenson overlooked Real’s Casemiro, arguably the best holding midfielder on the planet, in favour of Henderson.

“Of the last spot you could go for Isco, Milner, Wijnaldum, but I’d have Henderson there and put him covering the two centre-backs with Modric and Kroos ahead of him,” Lawrenson wrote.

“The two full-backs would bomb forward, and I’d have Jordan fill the holes and be in position to cover any gaps.

“He’s an extremely good athlete. Any questions about his range of passing won’t really matter if he’s alongside Modric and Kroos.”

There’s no doubting that Henderson is a top player and has been massively reliable for Klopp this season, but we’d imagine several Reds fans would admit to Casemiro being the superior defensive midfielder.

As per Squawka, the Brazilian has come out on top in at least 15 more tackles than any other player in the Champions League this season while he’s similarly tenacious with his challenges in La Liga, being the only Real Madrid player to have won over 100 tackles in the Spanish top flight this term.