Man City v Liverpool Combined XI: Who makes it into our team?
The two heavyweights meet this weekend
Over the past few seasons, Manchester City and Liverpool have established themselves as two of the best sides in Europe, let alone the Premier League.
City dominated English football for two years before Liverpool added to their 2019 Champions League triumph by finally ending their 30-year wait for a league title last season.
The pair are once again the two favourites to finish top of the pile this term and they meet at the Etihad this weekend.
Ahead of the clash, we’ve put together what we consider to be the best combined line-up of players from both sides.
The only criteria to make the team is to be fit and available for selection this weekend, meaning the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Aguero, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara miss out.
GK – Alisson
City keeper Ederson would get into most sides but we’ve elected to go for his compatriot, who has proved to be among the world’s very best since switching Roma for Anfield two years ago.
Alisson’s importance to Jurgen Klopp’s side was epitomised when his injury saw Liverpool ship seven goals at Aston Villa last month, with understudy Adrian unable to adequately deputise.
RB – Trent Alexander Arnold
Kyle Walker can be considered unfortunate to miss out here having started the season strongly but there can be few complaints about Alexander-Arnold’s inclusion.
The 22-year-old’s willingness to get forward has transformed the full-back role in recent seasons and he provided an incredible 13 Premier League assists last season.
CB – Ruben Dias
It was essential that Dias started life in England strongly after Pep Guardiola splashed out £60m to bring him in from Benfica and the Portuguese has slotted in comfortably, playing every league game so far.
Joel Matip is expected to return for Liverpool this weekend but his lack of playing time in recent weeks puts him behind Dias in the pecking order.
CB – Aymeric Laporte
It’s no coincidence that City’s issues with leaking goals last season routinely occurred while Laporte was sidelined with injury.
The Frenchman is among the league’s most composed defenders and if he can maintain his fitness, he could form a formidable partnership with Dias.
LB – Andrew Robertson
Benjamin Mendy’s injury issues have forced City to consistently field players out of position to cover at left-back, but none of Guardiola’s solutions can lay a glove on Robertson.
Like Alexander-Arnold, the Scotland international is an essential weapon in the opposition’s half but he’s also accomplished in dealing with the threat of most attackers he faces.
CM – Jordan Henderson
The Liverpool captain’s energy and pressing in midfield makes his side tick and his qualities are often overlooked.
It’s not until Henderson is taken out of the side that you realise how important he is to Klopp’s system and much like Laporte, some of his team’s poorest results last season came while he was injured.
CM – Kevin De Bruyne
A no-brainer. After Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, De Bruyne is arguably the best player on the planet, possessing vision and passing attributes many Premier League players can only dream of.
The Belgian equalled Thierry Henry’s long-standing record for most assists in a Premier League season last term and he’s already laid on six goals for his team-mates this time around, including five in his last three games.
CM – Phil Foden
Perhaps a controversial option as Foden isn’t necessarily a guaranteed starter for City. Then again, nobody is nailed on when Guardiola is in charge.
The England international has often been earmarked as the long-term successor to David Silva and with three goals and two assists so far this season, he’s certainly got the creative attributes to justify the comparison.
RW – Mohamed Salah
Like De Bruyne, Salah’s inclusion goes without saying. The Egyptian is the third-quickest player to reach 100 goals for Liverpool and there’s plenty more to come based on his start to the season.
Salah has already netted nine goals in all competitions this term, which is more than he’d bagged at this stage during his incredible 44-goal return in his first campaign at Anfield.
LW – Sadio Mane
There are a few contenders for this position, including former Liverpool man Raheem Sterling, but Mane just edges it due to his consistency.
Despite a relatively quiet start to the season, he’s still managed to bag 5 goals in 10 games and if he enjoys another prolific season, he’ll join Salah in the 100 club.
CF – Roberto Firmino
Firmino’s inclusion may not be too popular considering the criticism he’s received this season, as well as suggestions that he could be benched for Champions League hat-trick hero Diogo Jota this weekend.
But the Brazilian’s influence on Liverpool’s attacking setup is continually underappreciated and his unselfishness and willingness to drop deep allows Salah and Mane to flourish.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.