Manchester City vs. Liverpool: Top 5 Players Who Have Appeared for Both Clubs
In recent years, City have exploded onto the scene as a major player both in England and Europe, becoming a major rival for the Reds in the process. Last season’s epic turn of events, which saw Liverpool concede the league title in the final few games despite beating City at Anfield in the run-in, will only have intensified this new rivalry.
With the Reds’ seemingly imminent signing of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan, according to BBC Sport, this fixture will have added heat and attention in the future, given Balotelli’s cult hero status among City fans.
As we look forward to Monday’s clash and prepare for Balotelli’s seismic transfer, let’s look at the top five players who have played for both Manchester City and Liverpool.
5. Dietmar Hamann
Dietmar Hamann is widely remembered among Liverpool fans as one of the heroes behind their stunning Champions League turnaround against AC Milan in the 2005 final in Istanbul, as he came on at half-time to great effect.
Hamann established himself as one of the Reds’ best midfielders in recent history during his time at Anfield from 1999 to 2006, after he joined Gerard Houllier’s side from Newcastle United for a fee of £8 million.
After he gradually lost his place in the side, he joined Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer, before an offer from Manchester City turned his head. He subsequently joined City just after becoming a Bolton player, with his new employers paying £400,000 in compensation to Bolton, according to the BBC.
Hamann made 54 Premier League appearances for City across three seasons before leaving the club in 2009, subsequently ending his career at Milton Keynes Dons.
4. Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool’s current leading marksman actually started his career as a professional footballer with Manchester City, which means that both of the Reds’ first-choice forwards—if Balotelli does sign for Liverpool—will have enjoyed their first taste of Premier League football at City.
A product of City’s football academy, who he joined at 13 years of age, Sturridge caught the eye as one of the hottest prospects in all of England, but as his contract expired, he left to join Chelsea aged just 19 to try to break into Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues side.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Sturridge showed glimpses of his undoubted quality. Yet Chelsea didn’t offer him enough opportunities to impress as a first-team player in his favored center forward position, and he was increasingly associated with being a selfish player.
With his long-term career at the top level at stake, Liverpool swooped in during the January transfer window of the 2012/13 season with a £12 million bid, and the rest is history: Sturridge has since become the highest-scoring Liverpool player in the modern era in his first 50 games, with 36 goals.
3. Nicolas Anelka
Nicolas Anelka sneaks in at third place on this list simply because his average impact at both clubs is arguably higher than Sturridge’s at this moment in time.
One of Houllier’s most infamous and widely criticized transfer mistakes in hindsight was his decision not to sign Anelka on a permanent deal after his successful loan spell, instead opting to bring in El-Hadji Diouf on the back of a successful 2002 World Cup campaign for Senegal.
This time, City were the beneficiaries, as they splashed a then-club record £13 million to bring Anelka to Maine Road, where he established himself as one of City’s most successful strikers before their recent ascent to the Premier League elite with 37 goals in 89 league appearances.
2. Steve McManaman
Up next is one of Liverpool’s best ever wingers, Steve McManaman, who left Anfield to join Real Madrid on a Bosman free transfer before finishing his career with City.
A product of the Liverpool academy, McManaman was granted his debut in Kenny Dalglish’s last season of his first reign as Reds manager, before becoming a mainstay and growing in prominence and reputation under Roy Evans.
A career record of 46 goals in 272 league games for the Reds only just scratches the surface at one of Liverpool’s best ever academy products and one of England’s finest wingers of the 1990s. McManaman was also part of the controversial and infamous “Spice Boys” group alongside Jamie Redknapp, David James, Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer.
After a four-year stint at Real Madrid, where he became one of England’s most successful ever exports in modern times, he joined Kevin Keegan’s City side in 2003, where he reunited with former teammates Anelka and Fowler.
1. Robbie Fowler
And it’s Robbie Fowler, a teammate and fellow “Spice Boy” of McManaman, who makes it as the best player to have played for both Liverpool and Manchester City, with a two-year spell at Leeds United sandwiched in between.
Still affectionately known by the Kop as “God,” Fowler is widely regarded as one of Liverpool’s most talented ever strikers and one of their best ever youth products. Exploding onto the scene in 1993 and quickly earning a reputation as a brilliant natural finisher, Fowler famously struck a hat-trick against Arsenal in four minutes and 33 seconds, to this date still the Premier League’s fastest ever hat-trick.
Michael Owen’s emergence as the next top striking talent at Anfield, and Gerard Houllier’s purchase of Emile Heskey from Leicester City to be Owen’s first-choice striker partner, marked the beginning of the end of Fowler as an all-time Liverpool favorite, and after two seasons at Elland Road, he joined Kevin Keegan’s City side.
With 20 goals scored in 80 league games for City across three seasons, Fowler proved to be a successful transfer, but his undisputed career highlight was when Rafael Benitez unexpectedly swooped to bring “God” back to Anfield in January 2006.
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