Which players make a Manchester City vs Liverpool combined XI?

The Premier League has hosted some titanic tussles over the years, but perhaps Sunday’s clash between title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool will be the biggest yet.

 

City sit a point clear at the top of the table but the Reds have a greater sense of momentum behind them with Jurgen Klopp’s side having won 10 league games in a row, conceding twice.

 

Liverpool and City are two of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen, but which players would make it into a combined XI, and who misses out due to the strong competition?

 

Goalkeeper: Ederson

 

Both Brazilian goalkeepers have 17 clean sheets in the Premier League this season and there is little between them. Widely ranked as the two best stoppers in the Premier League, it is almost a question of personal preference who gets the nod here. Perhaps Ederson has the edge when it comes to distribution, but it is certainly possible to make a case for either keeper.

 

Defence: Joao Cancelo, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson

 

With Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ruben Dias having been sidelined by injury of late, we will leave those two out of the side, clearing the way for Joao Cancelo to start at right-back. The Portugal international has been in glorious form all term, no matter where he is selected.

 

City often field Cancelo at left-back, so Andy Robertson is a natural pick on that side. Scotland’s captain is having another solid campaign, providing 10 assists from the back.

 

Dias would be a mandatory pick if fit but his absence for this potential decider ensures Joel Matip can slot in alongside Virgil van Dijk, who is arguably the world’s top defender. Matip’s previous injury issues appear to be behind him and he has been consistently excellent all term.

 

Midfield: Kevin De Bruyne, Fabinho, Bernardo Silva

 

Finding the right blend in midfield is a challenge here, but it is impossible to leave out Kevin De Bruyne. Even when he is not hitting the very high standards he sets himself, the Belgian is a joy to watch and has contributed 10 goals so far this term. He hit a stunner at Burnley last weekend.

 

Team-mate Bernardo Silva also gets the nod, with the Portugal playmaker providing a massive workrate out of possession on top of elite quality on the ball. Silva’s seven goals this season add a further threat for our midfield, while his dribbling skills will help get our team out of tight spots.

 

For the defensive midfielder who will sit in front of our defence, there is not much to choose between Rodri and Fabinho, but we have gone for the Brazilian. Fabinho’s penalty prowess gives him the edge though both players are positionally superb and can shield the back line.

 

Attack: Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Phil Foden

 

There are probably half a dozen players who would not look out of place in the attacking trio of this combined XI, but Mohamed Salah has to be the first name on the team sheet. Salah’s 20 goals in the Premier League have him well out in front of the chasing pack in the race for the Golden Boot, which he looks certain to win for the third time in the past five seasons.

 

It is a curiosity that Liverpool and City both often play without a traditional striker: Diogo Jota is the closest thing to a number nine either side have. Jota has made himself essential at Anfield, pushing Roberto Firmino to the fringes, with only Salah scoring more times in the league. This term is the first time Jota has scored 20 goals in a single season, but more are coming for him. He also adds to the Portugal flavour of this combined XI, joining compatriots Silva and Cancelo.

 

A few players could complete the team on the left side of the attack. While Jack Grealish has perhaps not quite justified his £100 million transfer, he has brought something extra to the table for City and the same can be said for January arrival Luis Diaz at Liverpool. Ex-Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has looked sharp of late, Sadio Mane is a consistent goalscorer and Riyad Mahrez is having the best season of his career for City. Yet they would all be forced to sit on the bench, as we have selected Phil Foden alongside Salah and Jota in this XI’s attacking trio.

While the phrase is somewhat over-used these days, Foden is a generational talent who can play anywhere. Although seven goals and three assists is not a particularly outstanding return for Foden, his immense contribution to City’s season cannot be measured in numbers alone.

Author: Tamara Kim