Liverpool do battle with Manchester City this week, with a place in the Champions League semi-final on offer for the winner of the two-legged tie.
Pep Guardiola’s side could wrap up the Premier League title in between he two legs, but for now, the Anfield clash should be at the forefront of City’s mind as they look to finally make a significant splash in Europe’s premier club competition.
Liverpool, for their part, look on course to finish in the Premier League top four, but with the Premier League title well out of sight and early exits from the domestic cups, the Champions League is now the only trophy that they have any chance of winning.
The matches between the two so far this season have resulted in one win for each (and no shortage of goals), and Wednesday’s clash at Anfield is likely to be at a similarly fast pace.
But how the two starting lineups stack up side by side?
Ederson Moraes (Man City). Guardiola finally addressed Man City’s goalkeeper issue last summer by signing Ederson from Benfica. The Brazilian has been a key part in their title win, with a number of strong defensive performances and clean sheets over the course of the campaign.
Kyle Walker (Man City). The £50m right-back has been excellent this season, operating at a high level at either full of wing back. The England man has established himself as one of the best players in the league in his position, and will be threat at both ends for Liverpool to deal with.
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool). He may be the most expensive defender of all time, but his impact for Liverpool so far has been tremendous. He has slotted into the Reds’ backline perfectly with a number of fine performance, and his confidence has spread to the rest of the defence as a result.
Vincent Kompany (Man City). If he wasn’t so prone to injuries, people may be referring to Kompany as an all-time great Premier League defender. As it is, he still stands out as one of the best in the league and, despite Man City’s lavish spending on centre-backs in the last few years, is still better than all of them.
Andy Robertson (Liverpool). Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool’s answer to their left-back issue was to sign Robertson from Hull for £8m. They need not have worried, as the Scottish international has arguably proved to be the bargain of the season. Having seen off competition from Alberto Moreno, Robertson is now Liverpool’s established first choice on the left.
Kevin De Bruyne (Man City). The Belgian international has been one of the standout players of the season, pulling the strings in midfield and coming up with 15 league assists. Given Guardiola’s taste for unconventional formations, less intelligent players than De Bruyne could struggle, but the former Chelsea man has flourished.
David Silva (Man City). One of the classiest players to have ever played in England, it took a bit of time for Silva to get the recognition he deserved but is now earning plaudits by the bucketload. His vision, technique and creativity are second to none.
Mo Salah (Liverpool). 29 Premier League goals in his first “real” season in the Premier League is a phenomenal achievement. Deadly off the ball, an assassin on it, the Man City defenders will need to be on full alert for the whole match on Wednesday or, as Crystal Palace found out at the weekend, all the Egyptian forward can punish them at will even when he’s having a quiet game.
Leroy Sane (Man City). The young German international has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of seasons, establishing himself as one of the best prospects in Europe. Sane has already taken Liverpool apart once this season, and also scored at Anfield, so he could be another key man to watch on Wednesday. Just edges out Raheem Sterling in this lineup.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool). Constistenly underrated for so long, a light is now being firmly shone on Firmino’s ability in what has probably been his best season as a professional footballer. 23 goals in all competitions is a particularly strong return for the Brazilian given that so much of his work is done outside of the box.
Sergio Aguero (Man City). Consistently brilliant a guaranteed goal threat year on year, it seems odd on the surface that Aguero seems to constantly have to prove himself to Guardiola in order to keep his place in the team. Set to miss Wednesday’s first leg (which is good news for Liverpool as he has scored against them so often), but will almost certainly play a key role in the second.