This Thursday, the newly-crowned Premier League champions take on the side that they have stolen the title from.
Liverpool have strolled to their first league title in thirty years, with seven games to spare.
They were handed the title when their closest contenders Manchester City lost to Chelsea last week.
City pipped Liverpool to the trophy last year in a historic title race when each side won the second- and third-highest points totals in English league history.
So it is fitting, and somewhat ironic, that the first team that the Reds come up against after securing the title in Manchester City.
It cannot be argued that these two teams are the cream of the crop in England, maybe even Europe, at this moment in time.
There are a number of world-class players in each team, managed by the two very best coaches in the world.
With tonight’s game in mind, we will attempt to pick a combined XI of players from both Liverpool and Manchester City.
While not solely based on form this season, it does come into consideration.
The formation will be a 4-3-3, as this is what both teams usually play.
The goalkeeping battle is between two Brazilians, and like with the national team, Alisson gets the nod here.
Yes, Alisson does benefit from having a better defence in front of him. But Liverpool leaked a lot more goals when he had to be replaced by Adrian for a long period due to injury.
Alisson is competing with Jan Oblak for the title of the best goalkeeper in the world.
Ederson, on the other hand, may be a world-class goalkeeper, but not many would put him in the very top bracket.
Ederson would make most combined XI’s, he is just unfortunate to be competing with Alisson Becker.
Being part of the defence that has kept the most clean sheets in the league is good enough.
But when you factor in the fact that he also has 12 assists, the second-most in the league, you get a true feeling of just how good the Scouser really is.
He is currently level with his own record of assists in a season for a defender, and will presumably beat it before the season is complete.
While Kyle Walker has been a great player for the best part of a decade, there is no comparison in current times.
Virgil van Dijk
The first name on the team sheet.
Virgil van Dijk is the reigning PFA and UEFA Player of the Year.
He ran the best footballer of all time, Lionel Messi, extremely close for the Ballon d’Or in 2019, finishing just seven votes behind him (per The Independent).
He is the best defender in the world, and by no small margin.
Not that it would have made a difference because van Dijk would have made the team no matter who he was up against, but City’s failure to replace Vincent Kompany certainly helps his case.
Van Dijk usually plays on the left, but is right-footed so would have no issues playing on the right in this XI.
This was one of the tightest calls of the lot.
Joe Gomez has had one of the most underrated seasons of any player in England and is well on his way to becoming world-class.
The only problem is that his consistent injuries have slowed his progress, meaning he does not get the recognition he deserves as he has never got a full season of playing every week under his belt.
Aymeric Laporte has had major injury struggles of his own this season.
However, the Frenchman is still among the top bracket of central defenders in Europe.
He has been a rock at the Etihad since he joined in January 2018 and his team have really missed him this season.
He has managed to prove his quality for a longer period than Gomez, so edges out the England international in this XI.
After a difficult choice at centre-back, left-back is a much easier decision.
Andy Robertson has been one of the bargains of the century.
Nobody would have guessed that he would become the best left-back in the world when he was playing for a relegated Hull City team just a few short years ago.
A rare mix of tenaciousness and quality, the Scot is the perfect left-back.
He is superb from both a defensive and offensive aspect and easily beats Benjamin Mendy and Oleksander Zinchenko to a spot in this combined XI.
Kevin de Bruyne
Like van Dijk, there was no chance of Kevin de Bruyne being left out of this team.
He is the definition of a world-class midfielder. Some of the passes he pulls off are impossible for most to even see.
He currently rests on 16 league assists and will no doubt be gunning for Thierry Henry’s all-time league record of 20.
He is, rightfully so, the only non-Liverpool player to be in contention for PFA Player of the Year and if it wasn’t for him, the gap between first and second would be much more than 23 points.
While Rodri has been good this season, he has come nowhere close to matching the defensive output that Fernandinho has produced in recent years.
Fernandinho himself is now 35 and has spent most of the season at centre-back.
Meanwhile, over on Merseyside, Fabinho has developed into one of the finest midfield pivots in Europe.
Barring the few months lost to injury this season, the Brazilian has been a colossus at the base of midfield since he settled into the side midway through 2018/19.
He demonstrated his full capabilities in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace last week, delivering a world-class goal, world-class assist and a world-class defensive-midfield performance.
He is far more than just a top-quality ball-winner, he dictates the play superbly and has a phenomenal passing ability.
There is no doubt that he is a player that Pep Guardiola would love to have in the Man City side.
Another tough decision due to the quality of Man City’s midfield options, but there was no chance of Jordan Henderson being overlooked.
While City’s pair of Silva’s would be worthy inclusions, David is past his peak and Bernardo has had a down season.
Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson has had his best-ever season at Anfield and has captained the team to Premier League success.
This season has consisted of Henderson playing as both a 6 and as an 8 for large portions, and he has been immense in both roles.
One of the favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year award, Henderson’s ability often goes under the radar due to his skills as a leader getting so much credit.
A tough call, but this season’s form and the balance that he brings to the team means that Jordan Henderson is included in this XI.
If one was unsure about Mohamed Salah’s inclusion in this XI, all they have to do is take a look at his numbers.
His three seasons at Anfield have been nothing short of insane, starting off with breaking the record for goals scored in a 38-game Premier League season in 2017/18.
He followed it up with another Golden Boot win and could very well make it a three-peat this season.
Fourth on the list of top scorers and seventh on the list of top assisters, Salah has once again produced fantastic numbers this season.
He well and truly is one of the world’s elite footballers.
Again, this was an incredibly tough decision.
While Roberto Firmino is not the best goalscorer in the league, that is not his main job. His sheer presence enables Salah and Sadio Mane to perform to the fullest.
We could also have played Salah as the striker, and included both Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mane out wide, but in the end, we went for City’s superstar Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine’s goal record speaks for itself.
He has consistently been one of the world’s top strikers for over ten years and is still delivering at the age of 32.
He would be a Golden Boot contender this season too if he hadn’t elected to have surgery during the break from football in order to fix a niggling injury in the hope of being fit for City’s remaining Champions League fixtures.
While we selected Aguero, anybody who selected Firmino in this XI would certainly not be begrudged.
The final player in this XI is Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.
While Salah scores the goals and Firmino works the hardest, Mane is a combination of both.
The last two seasons have seen him rise from a very good player to a great player, and he is another in with a very good shout to win PFA Player of the Year this season.
Had Raheem Sterling replicated last season’s form this year, he would have had a better chance of making this team, but he has failed to do so.
In the end, there was simply no reason to include him over Salah or Mane.
Ederson, Joe Gomez, Kyle Walker, Fernandinho, Gini Wijnaldum, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Roberto Firmino
In line with the current situation, we have a nine-man subs bench.
The toughest decision was to leave out David Silva, but Bernardo and Firmino are more versatile and are well capable of creating chances.
Other capable absentees are Joel Matip, Benjamin Mendy, Joao Cancelo, Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Foden, Leroy Sane (who has now signed for Bayern) and Gabriel Jesus.
All-in-all, this combined Liverpool and Manchester City XI would take some beating.
With Fabinho and Henderson protecting a world-class keeper and back four, the team would barely concede.
Add Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and De Bruyne supplying chances to the front three and they would score bucket-loads pf goals.
There is no doubting that it would be untouchable in England and probably in Europe too.