Wayne Rooney picked Liverpool's Premier League XI and included seven current players

Liverpool v Manchester United

This current Liverpool squad might just be the strongest they’ve had in Premier League history.

During Wednesday’s 2-0 victory against Inter Milan in the Champions League, their bench was Caoimhin Kelleher, Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Joel Matip, James Milner, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kostas Tsimikas.

It’s that strength in depth that means Liverpool are still in with a chance of winning the quadruple this season.

Okay, they’re very much second favourites to Manchester City in the Premier League, but they’re in next week’s Carabao Cup final, expected to beat Norwich to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup while they also have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League thanks to their win against Inter.

Jurgen Klopp has his work cut out to select just 11 players each week.

While it’s hard to enough to pick an XI from this current Liverpool squad, imagine having to pick a Liverpool XI from Premier League history.

Well, that task was given to Wayne Rooney back in 2020 ahead of a Merseyside Derby. For his column in The Times, Rooney picked an Everton XI from Premier League history but also picked a Liverpool XI from the same era.

Liverpool v Manchester United

And we wanted to revisit his selection considering he picked SEVEN current stars.

Let’s take a look at who he picked – and why (Remember, Rooney picked this XI more than 18 months ago so some of the quotes may seem a little outdated).

Goalkeeper | Alisson

Rooney said: “Pepe Reina was good but Alisson and Virgil van Dijk were the signings Liverpool had needed for 20 years, bringing authority and calmness at the back as well as great ability. Those two took Liverpool to the next level.”

Centre-back | Virgil van Dijk

Rooney said: “Van Dijk is massive. Yet he’s quick and has great ability on the ball. I don’t think he’s best against sharp types like Sergio Agüero, who can make little runs down the side of you in the box. But the way Liverpool play suits him perfectly.”

Centre-back | Jamie Carragher

Rooney said: “As Van Dijk’s partner I’ve picked Jamie Carragher. It was between him and Sami Hyypia but Carra’s leadership was key. Stevie Gerrard was Liverpool’s captain but I imagine Carra was captain alongside him — in the dressing room and on the pitch. I still have a few scars off Carra. Where I said Jagielka wouldn’t intentionally hurt you, I think Carra did! I always thought “if you get the chance to go through Carra or Stevie then take it, because you knew if they had the same chance, they wouldn’t hesitate to leave one on you.”

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League

Full-backs | Andy Robertson & Trent Alexander-Arnold

Rooney said: “Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are not the greatest defenders but, like Patrice Evra, they are so good going forward that any defensive weaknesses do not matter. With the way modern full backs are used as attacking outlets, those two are perfect — maybe the best two full backs in the world at the minute.

Liverpool v Aston Villa - Premier League

Centre midfield | Steven Gerrard

Rooney said: “Gerrard was a must in midfield. Some of his through passes, especially to Michael Owen, were just brilliant. Defensively he was very good — he loved a tackle — and he was quicker than people realised. Technically he was outstanding and that combination of ability and character — which he had — is what truly makes players world class.”

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League

Centre midfield | Xabi Alonso

Rooney said: “Xabi Alonso was just a very, very intelligent footballer. An unbelievable passer. I loved watching him play. There was a pass he used to do, low across the pitch that I would watch, then go out on the training pitch to work out how he did it — he would almost kick it with his big toe, with a little bit of curl that would bring it back to the full back. Fans might think the high crossfield pass looks more spectacular but as a professional I used to love that unique low pass of his.”

Liverpool v PSV Eindhoven - UEFA Champions League

Right wing | Mohamed Salah

Rooney said: “Mo Salah is starting to do what Ronaldo did for Manchester United, in terms of just being there and not really getting back to defend but always being a threat so that if you’re a defender or midfielder playing against him. You’re terrified of him on the counterattack.

Left wing | Sadio Mane

Rooney said: “A couple of years ago, Sadio Mané was in the shadow of Salah. He has shown great character to come out of it and in my opinion has been Liverpool’s best player this season (19/20 season).”

Attacking midfield | Roberto Firmino

Rooney said: “Then you have Roberto Firmino with his intelligence and work ethic creating spaces for those two.

Striker | Luis Suarez

Rooney said: “Luis Suárez, for me, is one of the best strikers in Premier League history. I know he wasn’t there long but he was the start of a change in mentality in Liverpool, bringing passion and fight — and maybe nastiness sometimes — but certainly a winning edge. He was a great goalscorer and I loved watching him.”

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League

Rooney’s Premier League Liverpool XI

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