Rivals for the Premier League crown for the last five years, this season’s clash has a very different complexion as Champions League hopefuls Liverpool welcome Manchester City to Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.
The Reds have had a season to forget so far, currently sitting sixth, though they could drop lower still should Brighton win their game in hand.
A whole range of issues have plagued their squad, which we covered in depth here.
Still hopeful of mounting a challenge for the final Champions League spot in the final 12 games of the season, Jurgen Klopp’s side begin by welcoming their recent rivals to Anfield, where they have lost just twice since the turn of the century to City.
Often well-matched in recent year, this year it is a little more one-sided on paper. Here’s who we think would make an all-star XI from the two sides.
GK: Alisson (Liverpool)
Perhaps the sole standout for Liverpool this season, Brazilian shot stopper Alisson is no.1 ahead of Ederson for his country, and in this side too.
Liverpool’s no.1 has saved 10 more goals than expected goals would suggest that he should have, by far the most in the top flight, and Liverpool could find themselves much further down the table if it weren’t for their impressive goalkeeper.
RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Right back has been a position of weakness for both sides this season, with Kyle Walker suffering an injury in Manchester City and Liverpool’s defence having flattered to deceive all season long.
But, Walker has returned to fitness in recent weeks and is beginning to once again show his quality and experience amid the ranks of the City XI. Probably the weakest spot in the side, he just edges it over his Liverpool compatriot.
CB: Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
With no Liverpool defenders really impressing this season, it is left to pick the best of Manchester City’s rotated defence. Manuel Akanji has undoubtedly had a strong first season in Manchester, but it is impossible to leave out the club captain, even though he has managed just 15 starts for the club.
CB: John Stones (Manchester City)
England’s best defender, Stones has taken his game to another level after a shaky start to life at Manchester City. Now one of the first names on the teamsheet, the Englishman is perhaps one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
LB: Nathan Ake (Manchester City)
Manchester City’s most impressive defender this season, Ake has really flown under the radar this season.
The Dutchman has kept just about every winger quiet that he has faced, and has been utilised across the back four.
Arguably Guardiola’s most trusted defender as it stands, he doesn’t offer much going forwards, but offers more than enough defensively to make up for that.
DM: Rodri (Manchester City)
While Fabinho’s performances have fallen off a cliff this season, Rodri has continued to excel in the heart of Guardiola’s midfield.
Though Kalvin Phillips was signed in the summer, he has hardly featured, such has been the prowess of Rodri in the centre of the pitch for the Cityzens.
CM: Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)
De Bruyne has struck up a near enough telepathic connection with summer addition Erling Haaland. Though in many ways the Belgian has been off the boil somewhat this season, he continues to show his quality in fits and spurts, while his assist numbers remain impressive.
CM: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
The jack of all trades, Silva has played left-back, central midfield and right-wing for Pep Guardiola this season, and despite seemingly weekly links with a move to Barcelona, continues to excel for the Cityzens.
RW: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Alongside Alisson, Salah has been one of the few bright sparks this season for the Reds. The Egyptian penned a new deal over the summer, and despite not being at his best this campaign, has still chipped in with 11 goals and 7 assists for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
ST: Erling Haaland (Manchester City)
Haaland has already scored 28 times with 11 games left to play, and looks set to break plenty of records before the end of the season. Despite this, there are still questions about whether or not the Cityzens are better without him.
LW: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool)
A contentious position given that Nunez had a horror start to his Liverpool career, but the Uruguayan has become a key man for the Reds in the months since, and is capable of becoming a world-class forward in the coming years if he can find a way to stop doing everything at 100 miles per hour.