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Manchester City vs Liverpool – RATED: How do they compare?

Manchester City and Liverpool go head to head in a mouth-watering Premier League showdown on Sunday that has the potential to swing the title race in either side’s favour. 

Pep Guardiola‘s City are the reigning champions and boast a one point lead at the the top of the table – but have squandered a 14-point advantage that they held back in January.

The Reds, meanwhile, head to the Etihad on the back of 10 successive Premier League victories and a win would take them two points clear of their rivals with seven matches to play. 

With nothing to choose between the two teams, Sportsmail compares their players in each position based on current form and fitness, giving each team an overall rating ahead of the highly-anticipated showdown.  

Manchester City and Liverpool collide on Sunday in a mouth-watering title showdown

Manchester City and Liverpool collide on Sunday in a mouth-watering title showdown

Phil Foden scored one of City's goals when the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in October

Phil Foden scored one of City’s goals when the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in October

GOALKEEPER

Ederson (Manchester City) – This is probably the position where both teams match up the same. Ederson and Alisson and both unbelievable goalkeepers who keep their teams in matches singly-handedly. Ederson’s distribution is probably slicker and his comfort on the ball is crucial to how Guardiola’s side build their attacks. 9/10

Alisson (Liverpool) – Klopp encourages his Liverpool defence to play such a high line because he knows he has the safety of Alisson stood behind them. The Brazilian may be prone to an error now and again but his ability in 1v1 situations is second to none and his shot-stopping is brilliant. 9/10

Ederson's distribution is faultless, which is key for City's style

Alisson is second to none in 1v1 situations

Brazilian duo Ederson (left) and Alisson (right) are two of the best goalkeepers in the world

RIGHT BACK

Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – The England star has been one of the most consistent right backs in the Premier League for a decade now and continues to have the trust of Guardiola and Gareth Southgate. His pace will be critical for City in shackling the speedy wingers Liverpool possess. 8/10

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – A completely different type of full back, the 23-year-old has revolutionised the position and become Liverpool’s playmaker. His ability on the ball is ridiculous, as shown in Benfica, but Alexander-Arnold will need to be at his best off it to keep Man City out at the Etihad. 9/10 

Walker's pace and directness means he's hard to go past

Alexander-Arnold's passing and crossing is outrageous

Kyle Walker (left) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (right) play the right back role in different ways

CENTRE BACK 

Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City) – The Frenchman’s absence through injury in the 2019-20 season was seen as one of the key reasons that City dropped so far behind Liverpool. He has proven himself to vital to City once again and his partnership with Ruben Dias is so strong that Liverpool will be hoping to make the most the Portuguese’s absence. 8.5/10

Joel Matip (Liverpool) – The Premier League’s best free transfer in the last decade? Matip has had his issues with injuries during his time at Liverpool but this season his availability has been great and the Reds have reaped the rewards. Dominant in the air, strong 1v1 and progressive with the ball, Matip oozes class. 8.5/10

Laporte is key for Man City without Ruben Dias

Matip is fit and healthy and shining alongside Virgil van Dijk

Aymeric Laporte (left) is key for City with Ruben Dias missing and Joel Matip (right) is thriving

CENTRE BACK

John Stones (Manchester City) – Stone is Guardiola’s third choice centre back and would not be playing if Dias was fit. That being said, as a regular at international level with England he’s not exactly a bad back-up. Liverpool will be looking to exploit the absence of Dias so it could be a busy afternoon for Stones on Sunday. 8/10

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) – If it wasn’t already, it has become clear just why Liverpool struggled to retain the Premier League last season with Van Dijk missing. The colossal Dutchman is back to being the best defender in the world and, if there was any doubts he’d take time to get up to speed, then he has proven they were ill-judged. 9.5/10

Stones is a strong back-up for Guardiola to call upon

Van Dijk has recovered from his knee trouble and made Liverpool a force again

John Stones (left) will start in place of Dias, while Virgil van Dijk is back to his best for Liverpool

LEFT BACK

Joao Cancelo (Manchester City) – The Portuguese arrived thinking he would spend most of the time on the right side but City’s struggles at left back have meant he’s shifted across. Despite being right footed, Cancelo has adapted with ease and is a major threat going forward. Defensively, he is very impressive as well. 9/10

Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – Robertson has encapsulated everything good about Klopp’s time at Liverpool. Arrived as an unheralded name from Hull, the Scot has become one of the world’s best full backs with his relentless energy and intensity. But it does feel as though his work on the ball has slightly dropped this season. 8.5/10

Cancelo is having to play at left back because of City's issues there

Andy Robertson continues to flourish for Liverpool

Joao Cancelo (left) has adapted well to switching flanks while Andy Robertson is relentless 

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD

Rodri (Manchester City) – It took the Spaniard a season or so to find his way in the Premier League. Shielding the back four can be hectic in English football but now he’s proven to be one of, if not the best holding midfielders around. It looked like City had a tough job to replace Fernandinho but they’ve definitely found their man. 9/10

Fabinho (Liverpool) – Often the unheralded star of this Liverpool team, Fabinho is crucial for Klopp’ side in protecting their defence, covering for their marauding full backs and starting attacks from the base of midfield. In recent months the Brazilian has started to add goals to his game as well. 9/10

Rodri has proven himself to be the long-term replacement for Fernandinho

Fabinho is playing superbly at the base of Liverpool's midfield

Defensive midfield is an area both teams are dominant in with Rodri (left) and Fabinho (right)

CENTRE MIDFIELD

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – Is he the best player on the planet right now? If there was one man who would inevitable break down Atletico Madrid’s stubborn resistance in midweek then it was De Bruyne and he duly impressed with a fine second-half goal. His passing and vision are a huge threat to Liverpool’s defence. 9.5/10

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – Liverpool’s captain is not necessarily a starter every week but his leadership and the intensity he demands from his team-mates means he will surely play in this big game. Operating in a wider, No 8 role, his link-up play with Mo Salah and Alexander-Arnold has been a system tweak by Klopp this season. 8/10

De Bruyne scored an excellent goal in Man City's win over Atletico

Henderson's leadership will be vital in the heat of battle on Sunday

Kevin De Bruyne’s creativity will be key if Man City are to break down Liverpool’s defence

CENTRE MIDFIELD

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) – Considering he was questioning his future at the club last summer, Silva has become vital in the heart of midfield for Guardiola thanks to his quality on the ball and selflessness off it. He delivered a masterclass at Anfield both this season and last and he will be key to shutting down Liverpool’s counters. 8.5/10

Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool) – The difference between Liverpool with and without Thiago is pretty obvious. When he plays he moves possession so quickly and accurately and isn’t afraid to put his foot in or compete in the air. Niggling injuries have been an issue but he looks fit at the moment and that’s a boost for Klopp. 8.5/10

Bernardo has been superb in Man City's recent games with Liverpool

Thiago is fit and firing for Liverpool and it they are noticeably better with him

Bernardo Silva and Thiago Alcantara keep their teams ticking over in the midfield area

RIGHT WING

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) – It feels like the Algerian’s exploits in front of goal have gone somewhat under the radar this season, given he has scored 22 goals in 37 appearances. Mahrez is a defender’s nightmare with his devilishly quick dribbling and punchy strikes on his left foot. He will definitely be a handful for Liverpool’s back four. 8.5/10

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – The Egyptian is probably enduring the worst run of form he’s been on since arriving at Anfield in 2017. He hasn’t scored in open play in seven matches, his touch seems off and he’s struggling to burst past opponents. His recent disappointment with Egypt looks to have sapped all of his energy but there is no better game to burst back into life. 8/10

Mahrez is a tricky winger who can cause a defender a number of problems

Salah has not scored in open play in seven matches and looks short of confidence

Riyad Mahrez is under-rated and has a fine goal return while Mo Salah is struggling for form

LEFT WING

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – The England international was left on the bench for City’s recent win over Man United and draw at Crystal Palace but returned with a pair of assists at Burnley. More often than not he starts the big games and Sterling will be desperate to land a hammer blow on his former club – and City’s title rivals – on Sunday. 8/10

Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Given how impressive he has been since arriving in England, it would not be a shock to see Luis Diaz star. But Mane is flying high and looks to be back to his best after a sloppy campaign in 2020-21. He finished off a fine team goal on Tuesday night and his pace in behind could hurt City on Sunday. 8.5/10

Sterling will be desperate to get one over his former club

Mane scored in the midweek win over Benfica and looks in good form

Raheem Sterling always starts the big games while Sadio Mane look sharp for Liverpool 

CENTRE FORWARD 

Phil Foden (Manchester City) – Foden caused Liverpool all sorts of problems with his direct runs in behind during their first meeting of the season at Anfield. He also got the equaliser with a perfect finish into the far corner. The 21-year-old showed his undoubted quality against Atletico in midweek and he looks likely to operate in that ‘false nine’ role for City on Sunday. 9/10 

Diogo Jota (Liverpool) – This game could come down to one team’s ability to score one decisive chance and, with City missing a traditional striker, Liverpool can call on the ultimate poacher in Jota. He has scored 20 goals this season and his ability in and around the six-yard box is second to probably only Cristiano Ronald in England. 8.5/10

Foden was outstanding against Atletico Madrid

Jota has been deadly in front of goal for Liverpool this season

Phil Foden has impressed as a ‘false nine’ while Diogo Jota has turned into Liverpool’s poacher

MANAGERS

Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) – He joked earlier this week that he overthinks tactics going into big games like this but Guardiola appears to have finally learned how to deal with Liverpool’s gung-ho style, having not lost any of their last four meetings. He will know that a win here will almost guarantee another title. 9/10

Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) – The fact that Liverpool are going into this game with a chance in the title race is testament to Klopp’s work behind the scenes. Seemingly down and out in January after three winless games, the Reds have been relentless in chasing down City. Now can he inspire them to arguably the biggest win of his Anfield reign? 9/10

TOTAL

Manchester City – 104/120

Liverpool – 104/120 

Guardiola's side can press home their advantage at the top of the table

Klopp will be sensing an opportunity to go above City on Sunday

Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp know this game will be crucial in the Premier League title race



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