Sunday sees a clash at Anfield between two sides that have dominated English football over the last half-decade, Liverpool and Man City. Today, we’ll be building a combined XI of the two Clubs current squads.
Despite Liverpool not being in the greatest state currently, form will not be a major factor in the construction of this XI. Let’s get into it!
Both teams deploy this system although they have different playing styles. Nevertheless, it’s the formation that best suits this XI
Alisson just pips Ederson in this XI due to pure goalkeeping fundamentals. The City keeper is elite with his feet, arguably the best in the world. However, Alisson’s shot-stopping ability is unrivalled, at least in Brazil.
The levels Alisson has shown since moving to Liverpool have been world-class, with the Brazilian arguably exhibiting the greatest goalkeeping-peak since Manuel Neuer in the mid 2010s.
Alisson has been instrumental since joining from Roma in 2018, helping the club reach three UEFA Champions League finals since then, winning the 2019 edition. The Red’s shot-stopper also has a Premier League title to his name, as well as an FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
Alisson has kept 89 clean sheets in 194 appearances for Liverpool, and was also voted as FIFA’s best keeper in 2019. Despite not winning the league last season and conceding more goals than Man City, Alisson was also included in the 2021/2022 PFA Team of the Year.
Right-back: Trent Alexander-Arnold
At this moment in time, Kyle Walker is probably considered a better right-back than Trent Alexander-Arnold. But given the trajectory the Liverpool right-back is on, he could go down as all-time great by the time he retires.
Trent has had a tough start to the current campaign but is still considered a generational talent after revolutionizing the fullback role under Jürgen Klopp.
Despite only being 24-years-old, Trent has an argument of being the PL’s best ever right-back.
The England international has won everything there is to win in club football, ranging from the UCL to the FIFA Club World Cup.
Known for his creativity, Trent has provided 45 assists and scored 11 goals in 168 appearances in the PL.
Trent has been included in the PFA Team of the Year on three separate occasions, as well as being in the UCL Team of the Year twice. Very impressive accolades in his fledgling career.
Centre-back: Ruben Dias
Manchester City centre-back Ruben Dias has been a revelation since arriving in England pretty much as an unknown prior to his move from Benfica. He’s slotted straight into Pep’s starting XI and has been one of, if not the first name on the team sheet ever since.
Dias’ first season in the Premier League propelled him to world-class status and put his name in the bracket of the world’s best central defenders, as the Portuguese International was pivotal to his side wrestling back the league title from Liverpool. He’d go on to be in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season that year, as well as win the Premier League Player of the Season for 2020/2021.
Despite being plagued by injury issues for large parts of last season, Dias was still influential as City regained their title. He must’ve shown great leadership skills even during his time on the treatment table, as Dias was handed the club captaincy this summer after the departure of City legend Fernandinho.
The leader and captain of the best team in England and arguably the world, Dias is thoroughly deserving of a spot in this XI.
Centre-back: Virgil Van Dijk
Virgil Van Dijk has arguably been the best defender in the world over the last 4 or 5 years. The Dutch International has been the catalyst for all Liverpool’s success since making the move to Merseyside from Southampton in 2018, for a then-world record fee for a defender of £75million.
Van Dijk oozes confidence and class, and often seems like he’s barely even trying, such is his stature and the way he elegantly engages with attackers.
Van Dijk finished 2nd in the Ballon D’or rankings in 2019, only behind the great Lionel Messi. Van Dijk was tipped to become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to win football’s most coveted individual award, but was unfortunate to lose out despite European success that campaign.
The Liverpool centre-back’s peak is among the best we’ve ever seen from a defender, with only his lack of longevity preventing Van Dijk from being considered the best defender of his generation.
Van Dijk too has won everything there is to win in club football, from the Premier League to the UCL in his first full campaign. The Dutchman will undoubtedly go down as one of the top five centre-backs in English-league history.
Left-back: Joao Cancelo
Joao Cancelo has revolutionized the inverted fullback role since arriving in Manchester from Juventus. The Portuguese International took time to settle in, as most Guardiola signings do, spending a lot of time on the bench during his first campaign.
However, once his role was made clear to him by Pep, Cancelo took off like a rocket.
Known more for his attacking prowess and ability on the ball, Guardiola decided to deploy Cancelo in a way that enhances his quality and utilizes it in a way that majorly benefits the team. As a result, Cancelo has become the biggest creative hub at Man City behind Kevin De Bruyne, often coming into midfield to allow City to dominate the middle of the pitch, overloading their opposition.
His importance to City was made evident by the fact that they gave him the number 7 shirt number after Raheem Sterling’s departure in the summer, an odd jersey number for a defender.
Defensive midfielder: Rodri
Over the last year or so, Rodri has proven to be the best number six in the Premier League, casting aside players such as Declan Rice, Yves Bissouma and Fabinho. The Spaniard was handed the torch from Man City legend Fernandinho, and the transition has been seamless.
Rodri has been pivotal to Guardiola’s side breaking up play and protecting his defence. Not only is he a massive defensive presence, but he also is good at progressing the ball and hardly ever loses it.
Rodri is one of the few players in world football that can hold down the defensive aspect of the midfield by himself, often having to make up for the lack of defensive cover from all of Man City’s attacking options. And he does it to a top, top standard.
Centre-midfielder: Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara is one of the great central midfielders of the last decade. He rose to prominence in Barcelona, winning four La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2011.
Thiago then followed Pep Guardiola to Bayern Munich, where he really began to blossom and assert himself as one of the world’s best. The Barcelona academy graduate is one of the most skillful, aesthetically pleasing players in the modern era, being able to dictate matches by himself from the middle of the park.
Since arriving on British shores, Thiago has got his hands on an FA Cup and a Carabao Cup, whilst finishing agonizingly close to winning the quadruple last season.
The two-time UCL winner has been of utmost importance to Jürgen Klopp’s men since his arrival in 2020 but has been subject to plenty of injury issues in that time. However, this hasn’t diminished how vital Thiago is as Liverpool often don’t look as composed and imposing without the Spanish International in the side.
Thiago would be unreal alongside the other two midfielders in this XI.
Centre-midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne
Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been nothing short of sensational since his move from the Bundesliga in 2015, with many putting him up there in the ‘Gerrard, Lampard and Scholes’ debate in terms of the Premier League’s greatest ever midfielders. And it’s easy to understand why.
De Bruyne has won the Premier League four times, playing a vital role in each. During his in time in England, the former Chelsea player has scored 58 goals and provided 92 assists in just 217 league appearances, with no player providing more PL assists than De Bruyne since his debut.
Currently, it would be difficult to name many PL players better than De Bruyne, who leads the assist charts with six from the opening seven games. He’ll be aiming to break his own record of 20 PL assists, the joint-most in a single campaign, alongside Thierry Henry.
Furthermore, De Bruyne has been in the PL Team of the Season in the last three campaigns and has been the Premier League Player of the Season twice before, in 2019/2020 and 2021/2022, respectively.
One of the first names in this combined XI.
Right-wing: Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah is a modern-day Premier League great. The Egyptian winger has taken the league by storm since his move from Roma in 2017, breaking the record for most goals scored in a single PL campaign in his first season in England, finding the back of the net 32 times.
Salah’s arrival at Anfield has coincided with Liverpool’s greatest period since the late 80s, with the Merseyside club reaching the UEFA Champions League final in his first season. Unfortunately, Salah was injured during the final as Liverpool lost to Real Madrid.
However, Salah got his hands on the trophy a year later as he fired the Reds to UCL success in 2019.
Salah has won the golden boot 3 times since 2017, netting 161 goals and providing 67 assists in 265 appearances for the Reds. A truly remarkable record that puts him among the all-time great attackers to play for the club, such as Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish.
Salah will go down as one of, if not the best right-winger in Premier League history, and thoroughly deserves a spot in this combined XI.
Left-wing: Bernardo Silva
Yes, we know Bernardo Silva doesn’t usually play in this position. But he can. And there is no way we could construct a combined XI with Man City players and not include him.
The former Monaco star has had a stunning impact since arriving in Manchester. Silva is an extremely versatile player that can see him play in the front line, on either flank or in central midfield.
Silva’s two biggest attributes is his dribbling ability, constantly bamboozling defenders with his quick feet as he evades pressure or beats the press, and his footballing IQ in terms of his awareness of the spaces around him. This allows Silva to always make the right decision on the ball.
The Portuguese International has made 173 appearances for City in the Premier League, scoring 31 goals and laying on a further 31 assists. Silva has also been part of the PFA Team of the Year twice, in 2018/2019 and 2021/2022, respectively.
Any team would love a Bernardo Silva in their team, and we’re no different.
Striker: Erling Haaland
The name on everyone in football’s lips, Erling Haaland is a goal-scoring machine. The City striker has taken to life in the Premier League like a duck to water, netting 15 goals in the opening 9 games.
The Norwegian has scored goals wherever he’s been, netting 149 goals in 176 appearances since making his debut for Molde FK in 2017. Furthermore, Haaland’s record for the Norway National team is also astounding, scoring 21 goals in 23 appearances for the men’s team.
Haaland’s exploits in Europe are also astounding, already sitting on 28 UCL goals in just 22 appearances in the competition, well on course to smash both Ronaldo and Messi’s record.
The striker currently sits top of the goal charts not only in England but across Europe’s top five leagues. Haaland is on his way to blow Mo Salah’s Premier League record of 32 goals in a single campaign out the water, and become a modern-day living-legend in the process.
Let us know your thoughts and Combined XIs in the comments below.