Manchester City vs Liverpool could well decide the destination of the Premier League title.
The two English giants will lock horns at the Etihad Stadium this weekend in the umpteenth episode of the Pep Guardiola vs Jurgen Klopp saga that has engrossed fans for the last six years.
Victory for the Citizens could see them settle their nerves and win a fourth title in the past half-decade, while an upset victory for Liverpool might well fire them to just their second ever Premier League trophy.
Man City vs Liverpool
All in all, it’s one of those rare matches across a 38-game season in England’s top-flight where it feels as though the previous seven months are distilled into just one cup final played over 90 minutes of high-octane action.
So, to whet the appetite of fans across the country and the world who are chewing their finger nails and buying popcorn in anticipation, we wanted to take a closer look at the two clubs going head-to-head.
Besides, regardless of the fact that they’re exchanging leather for the 2021/22 title this weekend, they also happen to be two of the biggest clubs to have ever called the Premier League their home.
Bearing that in mind, we’ve decided to rank and rate City and Liverpool’s greatest players of the modern era to see what the standard is for any current stars looking to solidify their names in their clubs’ history books.
From the 1990s magic of Robbie Fowler and Georgi Kinkladze to the 21st century brilliance of Yaya Toure and Steven Gerrard, many a player has shone in the Premier League wearing either sky blue or bright red attire.
However, to settle the greatest from the greats, we’ve turned to our trusty medium of Tiermaker to organise who we consider to be the 27 finest players across each of the clubs since 1992 into seven key categories.
With City and Liverpool’s respective number ones of the Premier League era occupying ‘The greatest’ tier, the lowest-ranked icons of this star-studded cohort will bring up their rear in the ‘Cult hero’ classification.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that even those legends who might be ranking lower down are still worthy of praise and applause because anyone being considered a City or Liverpool great has clearly done something right.
And of course, our selections are ultimately down to the verdict of yours truly – other opinions are available – with my decisions informed by footballing quality, longevity, significance to the club and iconic moments.
Ranking Man City and Liverpool greats
Got it? Right then, well, we shan’t delay any longer as we ramp up the excitement for City and Liverpool’s blockbuster clash by ranking their Premier League greats from worst to best in the Tiermaker down below:
Shaun Goater and Georgi Kinkladze
Look, contrary to what some supporters might believe, City weren’t founded in 2008 and we’d remiss not to tip our hats to the cult heroes that starred in sky blue before Sheikh Mansour elevated the club to the next level.
Goater’s goals might never have been the most aesthetically-pleasing, but he’ll always have a special place in the hearts of City fans for notching over 100 strikes and topping their scoring charts for four consecutive seasons.
And while Kinkladze might only have played one Premier League season for the Citizens, the dazzling Georgian still bagged successive ‘Player of the Year’ awards and scored arguably the club’s greatest ever goal.
However, at the end of the day, we’d be lying if we said that these two City favourites who sum up the phrase: “The streets will never forget,” had quite enough quality to compete with all the top-class legends coming up…
Richard Dunne, Sami Hyypia, Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart
While you might think we’ve lost our minds in calling up Dunne amongst so many world-class stars, let’s remember for a second just how much of an ever-present he was through a difficult period in City’s history.
When do you hear him getting the credit he deserves for racking up an insane four Manchester City Player of the Year awards on the bounce and leaving as captain with over 350 appearances? Not often enough, that’s when.
Meanwhile, Hyypia is someone that always feel gets lost in the shuffle of Liverpool greats and that’s truly a shame because he always proved to be unerringly reliable and sturdy in such am inconsistent era for the club.
And you were in similarly safe hands with Zabaleta at right-back with the recent emergences of Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker having the unfair effect of having diluted the Argentine’s legacy at the Etihad.
Finally, Hart is one of the most disrespected Premier League greats, period, because his record haul of four Golden Gloves and former status as one of the world’s best goalkeepers has been unjustly side-swiped by his post-City struggles.
What could have been?
Fernando Torres, Steve McManaman and Michael Owen
Do you get what we’re saying? These are players who are undoubtedly Premier League greats for Liverpool but for different reasons, make you think that they could have been right up there with the very, very greatest.
Take Torres, for example, because he was the world’s best number nine when he first arrived at Anfield, only for crushing injuries and a doomed move to Chelsea to stop him from every becoming truly mythic for the Reds.
As for McManaman, you only have to look at his majestic performances for Real Madrid to imagine the dizzying heights that he could have reached in the famous red jersey had he played for Liverpool in a stronger era.
But perhaps the most painfully apparent case is the only Ballon d’Or winner on the list because Owen’s career-ruining injuries and decision to play for Manchester United have sadly soured his reputation on Merseyside.
Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling, Luis Suarez, Carlos Tevez, Roberto Firmino, Yaya Toure and Xabi Alonso
Now we’re talking. Welcome to the category of players that, sure, aren’t going to have a statue built of them outside Anfield or the Etihad, but boy did they bring quality and brilliance to their clubs by the truckload.
Bearing that in mind, Mane and Firmino were absolute shoo-ins as two-thirds of one of the greatest front threes in modern football history, bagging the Champions League and Premier League with their electric chemistry.
By the same token, Sterling has been a force of nature for City as one of the sharpest goalscoring wingers we’ve ever seen, amassing 128 goals to go with his 327 appearances and duly making for quite the coup on Virgin Bet FIVES.
And has anybody ever had a better individual season in Premier League history than Suarez? His superhuman output of 43 goal contributions in just 33 games in 2013/14 is only counterbalanced by a lack of longevity.
Similarly, Tevez might only have spent four seasons with the ‘Noisy Neighbours’, but his ruthless goalscoring with 52 goals in his first two years alone helped City to establish their Premier League dynasty.
As for Alonso, we’d have to be a pretty heartless football fan to not tip our hipster’s cappuccino to one of the most effortless midfield operators to have strutted his stuff on Merseyside.
And finally, we’ll openly admit that Toure came closer than anyone else in the category to joining the ‘All-time legend’ tier, but such is the level of competition that even his extraordinary 2013/14 season wasn’t quite enough to earn a promotion.
Hero of the terraces
Jamie Carragher, Fernandinho, Jordan Henderson and Robbie Fowler
We like to think that you’re already picking up the vibe of this tier because we’re not necessarily saying that they’re more talented footballers than the ‘absolute ballers’, but they’re certainly more engrained in their club’s DNA.
Besides, for what Carragher might have lacked in natural ability, he made up for it with heart and mettle in spades, inspiring as a local lad who made over 700 appearances in red and lifted the Champions League trophy.
And in the modern era, Fernandinho is probably as close as City have come to that ‘one of your own’ vibe with his combative style of play, unwavering loyalty and underrated leadership endearing him to Etihad regulars.
Then, of course, we have the ever-inspiring story of Henderson who proved all the haters wrong by overcoming a tough start to life at Liverpool to captain the club as champions of England, Europe and the world.
Finally, you know that you’re a ‘hero of the terraces’ when they call you ‘God’ with Fowler also having grown up in the local area to become arguably the most naturally-gifted finisher that the club has ever seen.
Virgil van Dijk, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Mohamed Salah and Vincent Kompany
Grab the bronze and take a chisel because it’s fair game to build these guys a statue in our eyes because they’re City and Liverpool’s greatest ever Premier League players outside of their respective GOATs.
Are we being slightly generous to Van Dijk? Maybe, but come on, we’re talking about one of the greatest defenders in modern football who was only eight votes away from becoming the first Ballon d’Or-winning centre-back in 13 years.
As far as De Bruyne is concerned, the simple fact of the matter is that he was the greatest player in the greatest ever Premier League team – City’s centurions – who has continued to prove himself as one of the league’s best midfielders in its history.
Then there’s Aguero who, frankly, speaks for himself as the executor of the Premier League’s most dramatic ever moment with City’s all-time goalscoring record and one of the competition’s most lethal goal-per-game ratios.
As for Salah, there’s an argument to be had that he’s already Liverpool’s Premier League GOAT as he swaggers towards a third Golden Boot in just five seasons to breathe down the neck of Thierry Henry’s record.
If that’s not the most formidable CV of any Virgin Bet FIVES prospect, then we don’t know what is…
And only John Terry has gotten his hands on more Premier League trophies as a club captain than Kompany, who endures as City’s greatest ever captain whose arrival in 2008 will always be a watershed moment.
David Silva and Steven Gerrard
Call us bottle jobs, but you can’t compare apples and oranges, so we’ve picked the Premier League GOAT for both clubs respectively and it’s two midfield maestros that occupy the throne in our eyes.
Silva couldn’t be more deserving of his statue outside the Etihad with the transcendent class, majesty, talent, quality and ability that he brought to City setting the wheels in motion for the most successful period in their history.
Meanwhile, Gerrard is simply head and shoulders above the Liverpool crop when it comes to individual output with his swashbuckling, one-man-team performances making him a peerless leader within the Liverpool annals.
Who are your City and Liverpool GOATs?
Wowsers. From some of the current members of Klopp and Guardiola’s squads to the timeless greats of the early Premier League years, City and Liverpool have certainly churned out their fair share of ballers.
However, like we say, this is just our ranking and it’s by no means the objective or definitive one, so be sure to let us know if you think that Aguero is City’s GOAT, Van Dijk should be given a downgrade or anything in between.
Besides, whether it’s in the terraces or around pub tables, it’s the joy of football that it’s a sport full of debate and friendly disagreements of which we have no doubt there will be plenty ahead of the big game itself.
Just as picking between Gerrard, Kompany, Salah and De Bruyne was incredibly difficult, knowing who will emerge victorious out of City and Liverpool is arguably even tougher – but we can’t wait to find out the answer. Bring it on.
This article is brought to you by Virgin Bet. To get involved yourself, head to Virgin Bet FIVES. Across Monday to Friday, you’ll be given five random players for the weekend’s fixtures; each time one scores, you get free cash, up to £50. Go to Virgin Bet for full terms and conditions. 18+ and please gamble responsibly. begambleaware.org