As Liverpool and Manchester City prepare themselves for the first Wembley showpiece of the season on Sunday, the League Cup Final, there will be a few players on display who have played for both clubs during their careers. In no particular order, this is essentially a full squad of sixteen players who played for Manchester City and Liverpool. It’s probably fair to say that some of these players may have escaped the memories of both sets of fans.
Cruelly nicknamed “Calamity James” during his spell at Liverpool between 1992 and 1999 after a number of high profile mistakes, this didn’t stop him from eventually becoming England’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper, and one of the highest appearance makers in Premier League history (he is fourth in the list at the time of writing). Following spells at Aston Villa and West Ham, James had a two year stint at City, leaving in 2006 to join Portsmouth. He retired in 2014.
Ivory Coast centre-back Kolo Touré joined Manchester City in a £16 million transfer in 2009, following seven years at Arsenal which saw him lift the Premier League title and FA Cup. He repeated this at the Etihad, winning both trophies for a second time. At the expiring of his contract in 2013, he moved to Anfield on a free transfer, and is in contention to line up against his former employers in this weekend’s final.
A favourite with the Anfield faithful following a seven year stint with the club which saw him win six trophies, Hamann joined City in 2006 after going back on a pre-contract agreement with Bolton Wanderers. After leaving the Blues in 2009, he brought his career to a close in 2011, following a season as player-coach at MK Dons.
It may come as a surprise to some that the man responsible for so much success at Old Trafford actually played out his entire league career at their two biggest rivals. An inside forward who joined Manchester City in 1928, he played at Maine Road for eight years before moving to Liverpool in an £8000 deal towards the end of the 1935 – 36 season. He played out the rest of his playing career at Anfield, before the Second World War interrupted the league programme. In 1945, after rejecting a coaching role at Liverpool, he went on to become a Manchester United legend, managing them for almost 25 years.
After failing to break into the first team at Manchester City, Sturridge joined Chelsea when his contract expired in 2009. Despite having a successful loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, he faced the same problem at Stamford Bridge. In the 2013 January transfer window, he completed a £12 million move to Liverpool. When he’s not been injured, Sturridge has been able to boast a very impressive strike rate at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp will certainly be hoping he is fit this weekend.
Despite growing up as an Everton supporter, McMananan joined Liverpool as an apprentice straight after leaving school. He played for nine years in the first team before joining Real Madrid in 1999, where he won both La Liga and the Champions League twice, even scoring in the 2000 final. He played the final two seasons of his career at Manchester City, before retiring in 2005.
Sterling joined Liverpool from Queens Park Rangers in 2010, costing £600,000, despite having never made a first-team appearance. Making his debut in 2012, his stock rose considerably over the following three years, which saw him become an England regular. With interest in his services very high, and him stating that he wanted to win trophies on a yearly basis, he completed a £49 million transfer to the Etihad last summer.
The controversial Wales international has many clubs on his CV, and can boast two spells at Anfield in 2006 – 07 and 2011 – 12, winning the League Cup in his second stint. He joined Manchester City from West Ham in January 2009. Without doubt, his finest moment wearing the Sky Blue shirt came in the Manchester Derby later that year, where he scored two fantastic goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford. City may have lost the match 4 – 3, but Bellamy became a terrace hero for that display. He retired in 2014, following a two year spell with his hometown club, Cardiff City.
Another boyhood Evertonian, but known as “God” among the Liverpool faithful, Fowler was one of the most lethal strikers in the Premier League in his prime, scoring 171 goals in his first spell at the club. Following a succession of injuries, and the emergence of Michael Owen, he was sold to Leeds United in 2001. After just over twelve months at Elland Road, with Leeds in severe financial meltdown, Fowler was sold to balance the books.
He joined Manchester City in January 2003, spending three years at the club. Unable to dislodge Andy Cole or Darius Vassell in the starting line-up, he completed a surprise dream move back to Anfield in 2006, and spent a further 18 months there.
Following the departure of Graeme Souness to Sampdoria, Liverpool were in need of a midfield hard-man, and signed McMahon from Aston Villa in 1985, who fitted the bill perfectly. He spent six years at Anfield, winning three league titles and two FA Cups, etching his name into Anfield folklore. He joined Manchester City in 1991, and spent three years at Maine Road before joining Swindon Town as player manager in November 1994.
A Champions League winner at the age of 19 with Inter, Balotelli moved to the Etihad in 2010. He quickly became a cult hero with City fans, and increased his status even more following his two goals and the infamous “Why Always Me?” celebration in the team’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford. He provided the assist for Sergio Agüero to score the goal that won the Premier League title in 2012, but despite moments of brilliance, question marks remained over his attitude and discipline.
Balotelli joined Milan in 2013, and spent 18 months back at the San Siro before Brendan Rodgers identified him as a replacement for Luis Suarez. After just one Premier League goal for Liverpool, he re-joined Milan on loan at the beginning of this season. His future remains uncertain.
The controversial French striker played for ten different European clubs during his career, winning many trophies, mainly at Arsenal and Real Madrid. His spells at Liverpool and Manchester City were not quite as successful in terms of silverware. He moved to Anfield on loan from Paris Saint-Germain in December 2001, and despite some impressive performances, the move was not made permanent.
In the summer of 2002, a £13 million deal saw him become City’s record signing at that time. He scored against United in the last ever Manchester Derby to take place at Maine Road later that year, and was a huge fans’ favourite prior to agitating for a transfer in January 2005. He moved to Turkey, adding Fenerbahçe to his ever growing list of clubs.
Milner joined Manchester City from Aston Villa following the 2010 World Cup in a £25 million transfer. His spell at the Etihad was hugely successful, winning two Premier League titles and both domestic cups. His tireless running and limitless stamina reserves saw him become a huge favourite among City fans. Many were disappointed when he joined Liverpool on a free transfer last summer, citing a need for regular first-team football. A certain starter for Sunday.
Beardsley is the only man to have played for the red and blue halves of both Manchester and Liverpool. Having played one match on loan at Old Trafford in 1983, Beardsley moved to Anfield from Newcastle in 1987, winning two league titles and the FA Cup in his four year spell there. Many City fans will probably not remember his spell at Maine Road in 1998, on loan from Bolton following spells with Everton and Newcastle. He made just six appearances without scoring a single goal, before joining his old Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan, at Fulham.
The Spanish international left-winger only had two short spells in the Premier League, with Liverpool and Manchester City respectively. He joined the Blues in January 2006, on loan from Espanyol, scoring once in 19 appearances. He returned to Spain, and enjoyed two impressive seasons in La Liga, prompting Rafael Benítez to sign him for £8 million in 2008. Although a regular in his first season, as Liverpool pushed Manchester United for the Premier League title, he made just 15 appearances in 2009 – 10. At the end of that season, he joined Greek giants Olympiacos.