Liverpool Greatest XI v Manchester City Greatest XI: Who Wins?

Liverpool v Manchester City is always an encounter to be savoured. So imagine the clamour for tickets for this clash; two sides packed with legends pass-and-moving to the death.
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Liverpool v Manchester City is always an encounter to be savoured. Here two fans pick the best sides they have seen play in the flesh...

Liverpool Greatest Xl by Owen Blackhurst

GK: Pepe Reina

Plays like a sweeper at times, has got better in the air, kicks off both feet, has a beautiful, perfectly smooth, round head and was the fastest keeper in our history to 100 clean sheets. Grob might have won more and Dudek danced us to victory in Istanbul, but neither touch Reina for sheer class. 9

RB: Rob Jones

If Rob Jones hadn’t had a back like a wet fence in Walton and a knee made of glass, that rat bag Gary Neville would have considerably less England caps. I loved watching ‘Chopsy’ Nicol as a kid, but it’s Jones for me. Could play on either side, knew how to defend with it, full of pace and great on the ball. That he retired at 27 made me weep. 7

CB: Alan Hansen

Although I could happily give him a right-hander for his vampiric performances on the MOTD sofa, Hansen was the first player I really, truly, loved. Couldn’t tackle or head but he was as continental as British defenders got in the 80s. The dictionary definition of ‘not a hair out of place,’ though I suspect he has been using creosote on it since 1977. 8

CB: Sami Hyppia

‘Oooohhh Sami Sami, Sami Sami Sami Hyyppppiiiaaaaaa…’ was the first song my stepson heard sung at Anfield for his first, and Hyppia’s last, game. Criminally underused by Rafa in his final season (who almost didn’t bring him on against Spurs that day, the t**) he memorably stepped in at the last minute for the sacking of Old Trafford and played like Beckenbauer. Should still be at the club. 8

LB: Jamie Carragher

Not his best position by a country mile, but there is no way I could leave Carra out. Has made more last ditch tackles than any footballer in the history of the game, deep thinker tactically and won’t stand for any bull. Anyone who has seen him, close up, bollocking Phillip Degen will agree. ‘Degen… DEGEN… DEEEEGGGEEEENNN you ******* ****, mark your man…” 8

RM: Steve McManaman

He might have looked like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses with a perm, but the ‘coltish’ (copyright Fleet Street, 1992) Macca breathed fresh air into our moribund midfield under Souness. Scorer of great goals – Celtic twice, Arsenal etc – our plan at corners when he played used to involve passing short to him and letting him dribble. What we’d give now for someone on the flanks who was as comfortable on the ball. 8

CM: Steven Gerrard

He might have the worst haircut in the history of football and he might, due to the Chelsea courtship, be difficult to like at times but christ can he play. Has dragged us out of the mire on so many occasions that his nickname should be ‘tractor’ rather than the rubbish Stevie G. People might scoff, but when he had the security of Alonso and Mascherano behind him there was no-one better in his position. 10

LM: John Barnes

You can keep your Barcelonas, your Milans and your Brazils, the team that Dalglish put together, featuring Beardsley and Barnes left such an indelible impression on a nine-year-old boy that whenever I’ve set a team up since, either coaching, on Fifa or Championship Manager, I play with two wide men and a number ten. Imagine what Barnes would cost in the modern game? Sid England and sod the fans who booed him, Barnes was a hero and was nearly as good in the middle of the park after his thigh injury. 9

CF: Kenny Dalglish

As much as I loved Beardsley, there is no way I could have him ahead of Kenny.  Technically perfect, not scared to put his head in, unparalleled with his back to goal and wearer of the most aesthetically pleasing number 7 shirt in history. Dalglish is to Liverpool what Maradona was to Napoli. And then some. 10

ST: Robbie Fowler

It was the 90s, the glory days had slipped away and we were all in a funk. Then a snotty nosed tyro with dynamite in his left-boot arrived and started ploughing goals in from everywhere. Still the fourth highest scorer in Premier League history with 163 goals (15 ahead of that turncoat Welshman Michael Owen) watching Fowler was joy unconfined. My favourite goal was when he Cruyff-nutmegged Steve Staunton at Villa Park and hit an exocet at the catflap. God indeed… 9

ST: Ian Rush

As devastating in the penalty box as anyone in the modern era, his work ethic was legendary. I was seven when he scored the iconic camera-toppling goal against Everton in the 1986 FA Cup final, and my four-year-old brother was so distressed when he left that he continued to call John Aldridge ‘Rushie’. 9

Liverpool Total: 95

Both club and country were building their teams around this extraordinary talent – a lad barely out of his teens.

Manchester City Greatest XI by Macca

GK – Bert Trautmann

My granddad, who survived the war, always had a strong aversion to former Manchester United stopper Gary Bailey, claiming that he looked like an SS officer. A strange prejudice to hold against a South African but there you go. His hero however was another keeper, a German paratrooper in possession of an Iron Cross. This startling contradiction illustrates just what a profound impact Bert had in post-war Britain, his popularity and brave, majestic talent transcending football. 9

RB – Tony Book

After nearly a decade playing at non-league level Malcolm Allison brought Book to City where the 32-year old flourished through an incredible Indian summer captaining the side through our most successful period to date and receiving the Footballer of the Year award in 1969. 242 appearances and forever Mr Man City he was as reliable as he is decent. 9

LB – Paul Power

Came to my school making precisely two kids out of two hundred very excited (me and my brother) Paul was Manchester born-and-bred and led his side out at Wembley on three occasions. His cultured left foot struck several long-range beauties not least the winner against Ipswich in the 1981 FA Cup semi-final. His name also lends itself to a nice bit of rhyming slang for an alternative to a bath. 7

CB – Mike Doyle

The granite heart and soul of City Doyle was an uncompromising tough-as-nails stopper who wore his heart on his sleeve. And his heart was blue. His renowned loathing of all things United would have made him bang up for this clash. 8

CB – Vincent Kompany

The temptation to include Dave Watson was superceded by the idea of the classy colossus Vinnie pairing up with Doyle. A dream partnership of silk and steel that would take some beating. Signing this sublime defender is the reason I will never hate Mark Hughes. 8

CM – Paul Lake

Both club and country were building their teams around this extraordinary talent – a lad barely out of his teens –until injury cruelly deprived him, and us, of an extraordinary talent. Paul could play anywhere due to his innate reading of the game. To a very select few it just comes easy. Top flight football equated to a casual kickabout in the park and the sight of his galloping elegance remains a highlight of my youth. 8

CM – Colin Bell

The King. Suitably nicknamed Nijinsky for having the stamina of the racehorse and stylish elan of the ballet dancer, Colin was the complete footballer and one of the top ten greatest players this country has ever produced. So good that City wouldn’t be able to afford him today. 10

AM – Georgi Kinkladze

A head-down weaver of the highest quality, Kinky lit up the dark times with his mazy individual genius. Was so far advanced of his team-mates it was akin to Pele in his pomp playing five-a-side down my local leisure centre. His winner against Southampton where he took half their side apart before dinking it over the despairing keeper with impish ease is sufficient to get him into this side alone. The best goal I’ve ever seen by some considerable distance. 7

AM – David Silva

Though only 5ft 7 ‘Dreamy’ David appears to follow the ebb and flow of a game from an elevated position. Is allergic to losing possession, has a finely-tuned football intelligence and magical feet. I always said it would take a very special player to supplant Paul Lake as my favourite City player of all time. After hearing what Lakey had to say about the Spanish maestro earlier this year I think he’ll understand. We are all under Merlin’s spell. 9

AM – Peter Doherty

One for the old guard. I’ve not seen a single clip of the pre-war Northern Irish inside-left but all the old boys insist he was the greatest City ever had. Their opinion is worth far more than my own so it’s a reluctant demotion of Young, Summerbee and, my own personal favourite, Bernarbia, to the bench. 9

CF – Francis Lee

Lee Won Pen, in fact he won countless of them, our barrel-chested future chairman regularly threw his burly frame to the floor like a dying albatross in an era before diving became fashionable. He was a visionary. Joking aside he was also an extraordinary centre-forward who grafted his backside off to create opportunities before finishing them off with a deceptively silken touch. Great player. Bad chairman.  9

Manchester City total: 93

Liverpool 95 - Manchester City 93

The reds edge it on home turf and with more years at the top to amass a greater pool of pedigree giants. The devastating combination of Rush and Dalglish cause the City back-line all manner of problems throughout but it's Fowler the Prowler who nods Liverpool ahead early on with a close-range finish. Though City get back in it with Bell and Silva pairing up wonderfully to create a handful of chances the score remains 1-0 until the final moments when Barnes produces a moment of pure magic and curls one beyond the despairing reach of Trautmann.

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