Manchester City face Liverpool this weekend in an eagerly anticipated showdown between the division’s finest sides, the two clubs having shared each of the past three Premier League titles between them.
Each side will be seeking to make a statement of intent in this season’s title race and the clash will once again pit together the managerial nous of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, alongside a host of the Premier League’s finest footballers.
Ahead of this weekend’s clash we’ve decided to look at both squads and pick out the finest talents, though we’ve opted to use only players fit enough to feature in Sunday’s clash.
Here is the Football Faithful’s Manchester City and Liverpool combined XI:
Goalkeeper: Alisson – Liverpool
Arguably the two best goalkeepers in the division face off this weekend in Brazilian duo Alisson and Ederson, each having immeasurably improved their sides since arriving in English football.
Ederson’s kicking ability has added a unique weapon into Manchester City’s armoury with the goalkeeper amongst the best passers in the Premier League from deep, though we’ve opted for a goalkeeper who is regularly preferred to the City shot-stopper at international level.
Alisson arrived on Merseyside in a world-record fee for a goalkeeper and swiftly proved he was the solution to Liverpool’s previous goalkeeping woes, winning the division’s Golden Glove in his debut campaign in addition to playing a crucial role in their Champions League success.
Last season he helped the Reds to the division’s best defensive record for a second successive campaign as a long-awaited Premier League title was secured, his calming and commanding presence irreplaceable to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
Amongst the most difficult decisions on the team sheet, we’ve opted for Trent Alexander-Arnold over England international teammate Kyle Walker in the battle of our right-backs.
Walker has begun the new season in brilliant form and stands as arguably the most-inform defender in the division over the opening weeks of the campaign, though it is difficult to look past Alexander-Arnold’s record-breaking achievements since emerging from Liverpool’s academy ranks.
The 22-year-old broke the Premier League record for assists by a defender in a single season during the 2018/19 campaign, before eclipsing his own landmark last season as the title was won in emphatic fashion.
Trent Alexander-Arnold will make his 100th league appearance for Liverpool this weekend
🅰️ 99 League Appearances
✅ 76 Wins
🎯 27 Assists
⚽️ 6 Goals
🥇 Premier League Winner
🏆 PFA Young Player of the Year
Just a normal lad from Liverpool… pic.twitter.com/bVtvI9TCG7
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) October 30, 2020
Only two players across the entire Premier League created more chances than the star last season, an incredible statistic for a right-back whose style is fundamental to Liverpool’s forward threat.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias – Manchester City
It wasn’t so long ago that the thought of including Manchester City centre-backs in combined XIs would have seemed far-fetched, but the assured start of Ruben Dias at the Etihad earns him inclusion here.
The Portugal international arrived in a club-record deal from Benfica during the summer and has instantly improved a City backline that struggled last season, providing a strong presence at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s defence.
The 23-year-old is confident in possession and appears to have the leadership traits lacking in the City side since the departure of Vincent Kompany, his ability to organise a welcome addition at the Etihad.
Centre-back: Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City
Aymeric Laporte makes it an all-City pairing at centre-back in our combined side with Liverpool’s defensive options depleted, though the Frenchman would likely have made our team even in the event of a full complement of centre-back options.
Laporte has been a commanding presence since his signing from Athletic Bilbao, a player who thrives in both breaking up attacks and starting them with build-up play from the back.
Pep Guardiola has previously lauded the 26-year-old as the ‘best left-sided defender in the world’ and he remains crucial to City’s hopes of success, his long-term absence last season a crucial factor in the club’s relinquishing of the Premier League title to this weekend’s opponents.
Left-back: Andy Robertson – Liverpool
Liverpool’s full-back pairing is widely regarded as the finest in the Premier League and we’ve placed Andy Robertson at left-back in this team, the Scotland international amongst the finest in his position in world football.
Robertson’s relentless work-rate has made him a huge fan favourite amongst Liverpool supporters and he offers energy and dangerous delivery from club’s left-hand side, with only Kevin De Bruyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold providing more assists in the Premier League last season.
Robertson’s overlapping runs are essential to a Liverpool side who play with a narrow forward line, his partnership with Sadio Mane a key component of the Reds’ play, the former providing the width to allow Mane to drift into central areas.
Midfield: Rodri – Manchester City
Rodri is the first inclusion in our midfield three with the Spaniard growing in stature and importance at Manchester City, a player billed as the perfect Pep Guardiola midfielder beginning to make his mark.
The 24-year-old signed from Atletico Madrid last summer and enjoyed an encouraging debut campaign, cementing himself at the base of Guardiola’s midfield and demonstrating a calming influence on proceedings.
This season has seen the midfielder begin impressively and he has compiled an impressive pass completion rate of 92.5%, whilst only two players have regained possession on more occasions so far this season.
Rodri was tipped as the long-term successor to Fernandinho in an anchor role in midfield and will hope to continue his recent improvement, the Spanish star edging out the largely underrated Georginio Wijnaldum for a place in our side.
Midfield: Jordan Henderson – Liverpool
Liverpool’s club captain has played the best football of his career over the past year, his consistency in the Reds’ engine room seeing him finally win over his doubters in style.
Few of those doubters have ever been on Merseyside, however, with Henderson’s energy, drive and leadership having long been appreciated by those inside of Anfield.
Last season saw Henderson lead the club to Premier League success a year after lifting the Champions League under Jurgen Klopp, his role in that former triumph recognised with the FWA Footballer of the Year award.
Henderson may never be the most fashionable player despite his underrated technical ability and passing range, but he remains a midfielder few in the division will relish facing.
Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
Arguably the first name on the team sheet and quite probably the best player in the Premier League, Kevin De Bruyne remains the undisputed main man in Pep Guardiola’s side.
The brilliant Belgian has starred for the Etihad outfit in recent seasons and has forged a reputation as the most creative talent in the division, equalling Thierry Henry’s long-standing record for most assists in a single Premier League season last time out.
De Bruyne is an improbably complete midfield talent and mixes sublime technique with elite vision, his status as the Premier League’s finest recognised with last season’s PFA Player of the Year award.
City will be looking towards their talisman for inspiration once again this weekend and few would bet against the 29-year-old exerting his considerable influence against the champions.
Forward: Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
Raheem Sterling emerged on the Premier League scene as a talented teenager at Liverpool before leaving the club for Manchester City in a big-money deal, the winger set to face his former side this weekend as one of the division’s finest forward players.
Sterling’s career has been one of continued improvement with the England international developing from promising player to one of Europe’s most effective wingers, his goal record improving in each campaign with the 25-year-old breaking the 30-goal barrier for the first time last season.
Sterling’s lightning pace, agility and improved finishing ability have marked him out as a special talent, a once frustrating forward now regarded as City’s most important player alongside De Bruyne.
Forward: Sadio Mane – Liverpool
On the opposite flank we’ve placed Sadio Mane, a player deemed by some to be the most valuable in the current Liverpool side.
The Senegalese speedster is a whirlwind of pace, aggression and ruthless finishing ability, a player perfectly blended between silky skills and steely determination.
Mane was Jurgen Klopp’s first major signing as Liverpool manager and ranks amongst his finest, having plundered 86 goals in 180 appearances in all competitions, including winning a share of the Golden Boot during the 2018/19 campaign.
There are few players as captivating to watch both in and out of possession, Mane’s mix of industry and imagination seeing him star as one of the Premier League’s very best.
Forward: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
Mohamed Salah will lead our forward line in a slightly unfamiliar central role, though it is one he has starred in on occasion so far this season, the Egyptian having emerged as one of world football’s most productive players since moving to Merseyside three seasons ago.
Team success in the form of the Champions League and Premier League have been added to by a wealth of individual honours, including two Premier League Golden Boot accolades and a Player of the Year double during a prolific 2017/18.
Salah’s insatiable desire for goals has seen him shatter a whole host of goalscoring records, whilst he recently reached a century of goals in a Liverpool shirt, his record currently standing at a phenomenal 103 goals in just 164 appearances.
Liverpool have had some brilliant forwards in the Premier League era including the likes of Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez, though Salah may just be the best of the lot.