Sep 9, 2017 at 12.30pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Attendance: 54,172
Man CityManchester City
5-0
Liverpool
Aguero (25'), Jesus (45', 53'), Sane (77', 91')
Otamendi (6'), Fernandinho (28')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Alexander-Arnold (20'), Can (80')
Mane (37')

Combined XI: Manchester City vs. Liverpool

Ahead of this weekend's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Liverpool, Sports Mole selects a combined XI from the two squads.

The biggest match of the weekend in the Premier League sees two of last season's top four go head to head as Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

Both teams occupy a Champions League spot in the current standings having amassed seven points apiece during an unbeaten start to the new campaign.

Liverpool will travel to the Etihad off the back of a resounding 4-0 victory over fellow rivals Arsenal before the international break, whereas City needed a 97th-minute winner to earn all three points against Bournemouth.

Here, Sports Mole selects the best combined XI of players from both sides as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp prepare to do battle once again.



GK: Ederson

Ederson in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Everton on August 21, 2017© SilverHub

Neither side had much joy with their respective goalkeepers last season as Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero swapped the number one jersey for City and Simon Mignolet lost his place in the side at Anfield before winning it back from Loris Karius later in the campaign.

The current shot-stoppers of choice are Ederson - the most expensive goalkeeper of all time, no less - and Mignolet, who was rested against Arsenal last time out but remains Klopp's preferred choice between the sticks.

Ederson is still in the early stages of his career in England and there will be bigger questions asked of him as the season progresses, but for now he gets the nod having made a solid start to life at City.



RB: Kyle Walker

Kyle Walker in action for Manchester City against Brighton & Hove Albion on August 12, 2017© Offside

The question of Kyle Walker or Nathaniel Clyne could well be one that faces Gareth Southgate at the World Cup next summer, but with the latter currently sidelined - perhaps until the end of the year - Walker wins his place in this XI.

Like Ederson, Walker became the world's most expensive player in his position this summer with his £50m switch from Tottenham Hotspur, where he developed a reputation as a marauding full-back who never needed a second invitation to join the attack.

A red card against Everton last month has disrupted his start to life at the Etihad Stadium, but he is expected to return to the starting lineup for the visit of Liverpool this weekend.



CB: Joel Matip

Joel Matip in action during the EFL Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Southampton on January 25, 2017© SilverHub

The centre-back position has been notoriously flimsy for both of these sides in recent years, but the presence of Joel Matip has certainly helped to shore Liverpool's backline up.

The Reds have kept six clean sheets in their last seven Premier League outings, and Matip is the only defender to have started each of those matches.

The Cameroonian made 29 Premier League appearances for Liverpool during his debut season in English football and now looks to be one of the first names on the teamsheet for Klopp.



CB: Vincent Kompany (c)

City skipper Vincent Kompany in action during the Premier League game between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City on August 12, 2017© Offside

There is little doubt that Manchester City are a completely different defensive prospect with Vincent Kompany on the field, but the club skipper has missed far too much action in recent seasons due to injury.

The Belgium international is an inspirational leader for City and finally looked to be getting a good run in the team again towards the end of last season and start of the current campaign, but he is a doubt for the visit of Liverpool after picking up a calf injury on international duty.

Limited to just 23 Premier League starts over the past two seasons, Kompany will be desperate to enjoy an injury-free campaign this time around.



LB: Benjamin Mendy

AS Monaco's Benjamin Mendy in action against Manchester City on February 21, 2017© SilverHub

Liverpool's left-back options were so thin last season that Klopp resorted to playing Man City old boy James Milner there for the vast majority of the campaign and, while the versatile England international impressed in the makeshift role, it is certainly not his primary position.

The resurgence of Alberto Moreno and summer signing of Andrew Robertson has provided more competition in that area of the field, but Man City splashed big money to bring in Benjamin Mendy during the recent transfer window and he gets the nod in this XI.

The France international made his debut for the club in the 2-1 win over Bournemouth last time out, and if he can replicate his Monaco displays at the Etihad Stadium then he could be a force to be reckoned with on the left side of defence.



CM: Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Everton on August 21, 2017© Offside

The Premier League's chief creator last season, Kevin De Bruyne's role so far this term as a deeper-lying playmaker allows him to pull the strings to an even greater extent and release the dangerous front three that City possess.

Liverpool's Emre Can provides a different option as one of the central midfielders, but the guile and creativity of De Bruyne earns him a place above the Germany international.

De Bruyne is capable of finding a defence-splitting pass or getting on the scoresheet himself, and with the licence to roam that this XI would give him he would no doubt make the most of the pace in front of him.



CM: Jordan Henderson

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson barks orders during his side's Premier League clash with Watford at Vicarage Road on August 12, 2017© Offside

Jordan Henderson may not make it into an XI of the most talented players from the two squads - the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum might all be above him in those stakes - but the Liverpool skipper is essential for the balance of the team.

Henderson has proved that he has the discipline to marshal the midfield while others around him get forward to help the attack, and that is something which is vital in a team as attack-minded as this combined XI.

While not quite an out-and-out defensive midfielder, Henderson provides a vital anchor to allow the players around him to fully express themselves going forward.



CM: Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho in action during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Southampton on May 7, 2017© SilverHub

A summer of disruption and ultimately discontent for Philippe Coutinho means that it will be all eyes on him when he returns to action for Liverpool having missed the first three games of the season with a back injury.

The Brazilian's attempts to engineer a move to Barcelona during the transfer window came to nothing, and he must now reintegrate himself into the Liverpool team - although Klopp has revealed that he will play no part against City this weekend.

Coutinho thrived in a deeper-lying playmaker role towards the end of last season and during pre-season, and Liverpool fans will quickly forget the summer dramas if he is able to link up with the pacey front three to devastating effect once again.



RW: Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah in action during the Champions League playoff between Liverpool and Hoffenheim on August 23, 2017© SilverHub

Mohamed Salah has wasted no time in endearing himself to the Liverpool fans, and also in proving to the Premier League that he is capable of succeeding in England following an earlier failed spell at Chelsea.

The Egyptian speedster quickly hit the goal trail in pre-season and already has three to his name in competitive action this term, having formed what looks like being a deadly partnership with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane up front.

Man City have no shortage of options in this position either - namely Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva - but Salah's blistering start to his time at Anfield earns him a place in the team.



CF: Sergio Aguero

Sergio Aguero in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Everton on August 21, 2017© Offside

Perhaps the toughest position to nail down, with Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino providing the main competition for Sergio Aguero as the leading striker.

Jesus appears to be above Aguero in Guardiola's pecking order, starting ahead of the Argentine against Bournemouth last time out, while Firmino has enjoyed a better start to the season than any of his striking counterparts at Man City.

If you want a goal, though, there remain few better centre-forwards in world football than Aguero. The Argentine has scored in each of his five home Premier League games against Liverpool and will surely be involved again this weekend.



LW: Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane in action during the Champions League playoff between Liverpool and Hoffenheim on August 23, 2017© Offside

Liverpool's player of the season last term, despite missing a substantial chunk of the campaign due to the Africa Cup of Nations and injury, Sadio Mane has established himself as one of the deadliest forwards in the Premier League since his move to Anfield.

The winger has added an increasingly good end product to his blistering pace, and when he is in full flight there is not much any team can do to stop him at the moment.

Raheem Sterling provides the competition for Mane in this position, but the Senegal international has made a fine start to the season with three league goals already and can lay a claim to being the most exciting player in the division right now.



You can read Sports Mole's in-depth preview of Saturday's match by clicking here.

Gabriel Jesus of Brazil takes a pass during the FIFA Under-20 World Cup semi-final against Senegal on June 17, 2015
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5Liverpool63211211111
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