Who would be in a Manchester City and Liverpool combined XI?

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League

Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday in a match which will have a huge bearing on the Premier League title race.

City boss Pep Guardiola has already admitted their defence will be over if they lose to Liverpool, who are seven points clear at the top.

Ahead of the game, Press Association Sport looks at the combined XI of both sides.

Goalkeeper

Alisson beats Brazil team-mate Ederson to the number one jersey based on this season’s performances.

He has conceded just eight goals in the Premier League so far and has adapted to English football exceptionally well since a £66million switch from Roma in the summer.

Ederson is a title winner and has excelled at City but Alisson just edges him in this case.

Defence

Virgil Van Dijk is an automatic pick given his outstanding form this season. He has been imperious and looks every inch a £75million player.

He is joined by Aymeric Laporte in central defence. The French defender – who is surprisingly yet to earn a senior international cap – has been central to City’s title challenge this season.

Andrew Robertson takes the left-back berth. The Scotland international has been an £8million bargain and with Benjamin Mendy always injured and Oleksandr Zinchenko yet to establish himself at City, it is an obvious choice.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool FC - Premier League

Kyle Walker takes the right-back slot just ahead of England team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold owing to his added experience in a title race with little to pick between the pair.

Midfield

Perhaps the hardest selection, but it is an all Manchester City midfield.

If Fabinho had played more rather than being eased in to life in England he may have edged Fernandinho but the Manchester City man gets the nod to provide the steel and defensive cover. They both average the same amount of interceptions per game but Fernandinho makes more tackles.

Kevin De Bruyne’s injury-hit season does not erase his quality and a fully-fit De Bruyne would make any team in the world.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Premier League

It may be a deeper role for Raheem Sterling but the England international also needs to be in the team.

He has taken his game to a new level under Pep Guardiola, scoring nine top-flight goals and claiming six assists – with an average of 4.2 dribbles per game.

Forwards

At one time it would have seemed improbable to omit Sergio Aguero but Manchester City’s all-time top scorer misses the cut as Liverpool dominate the front line.

The trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino cannot be ignored.

Firmino’s hat-trick in the 5-1 win over Arsenal were his first league goals at Anfield this season as he adapts to a deeper role but his work rate has been outstanding.

Liverpool FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Salah’s inclusion is obvious, he is the Premier League’s joint 13-goal top scorer and his form since the start of last season has been phenomenal.

Nine-goal Mane continues to raise his game with the 26-year-old providing an excellent foil and supply line for his striking colleagues.

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