Four titans go toe-to-toe this Sunday in a match that will surely define the latest decade of Premier League football.
Because not only is Liverpool vs Manchester City a battle of the clubs, it’s a battle of the brains too.
Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are the Premier League’s bosses for a generation. They’re the managers to beat all managers and the only giants of the game large enough to take on the magnitude of the Premier League and dominate it as their own.
Not for years have we seen such breathtakingly talented sides lead by such world class gaffers.
Though, yes, it may have taken them a little while to get going, both Klopp and Guardiola have now crafted their sides Imago footballing Dei. As they say, after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither, it appears, were Liverpool or Manchester City.
The managers have their teams singing deafeningly from the same rousing hymn sheets and each wield squads that can take on the best.
In an era without Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and – let’s be honest – Jose Mourinho, these two have risen to the fore as the apex of what football in England can achieve. They’ve come to embody an era in football based not just around the boot, but the brain, too.
They encapsulate a new work rate, a new level of meticulousness and a new depth of commitment to a successful footballing ethos like never seen before.
Klopp’s high-energy game based around relentless attack and the good-for-measure occasional hug differs from Guardiola’s cool, slick, free-flowing football that carves its way to the net like a hot, sharp knife through disorientated defensive butter.
But, both work. And both blow the mind.
Arguably, in spite of what was seen last season and how the table currently sits, Liverpool just about have the edge for this round of red against sky blue.
Both sides have amassed the same number of points so far, but City perch above Liverpool due to their markedly superior goal difference. However, 6-1 and 5-0 wins over Huddersfield and Cardiff respectively skewer this somewhat and a loss to Lyon at home is realistically more discouraging than one away to an in-form Chelsea. Although Liverpool did suffer their own defeat away to Napoli on Wednesday.
Besides, since both side’s losses to Borussia Dortmund only a day apart in July, Liverpool have already proven their might against the Citizens in a 2-1 International Champions Cup victory, while facing tougher opposition recently.
But, no one can predict how the pendulum will swing in this battle of the two Goliaths.
Manchester City may be able to exploit the talented, but less experienced fullbacks deployed by Liverpool, especially if the pair seek to work the flanks in their role as modern left and right-backs.
Both sides opt for 4-3-3 formations, however, and so the real battle will take place down the middle of the park.
In the forward positions, both managers have potent attacking trios to call into action with Klopp wielding the famous triad of talent in Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino.
For Guardiola, it’s a trident made up of three equally sharp prongs: Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sané and, of course, Sergio Agüero.
The abilities of these six players will likely determine how the course of this game flows.
But it’s the savvy of each manager that we should keep an eye out for on Sunday.
This game will be a calculated battle of brilliance: a match, regardless of the outcome, that will exhibit some of the finest and smartest football seen this decade.
It’ll embody what dictates who wins and who loses in the fine margins of sport in this modern era.
Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have built machines designed not just to kill, but to decimate. And this weekend they’ll come face-to-face.
Prepare to be entertained. But, more importantly, prepare for a fight.