Liverpool make the short trip across Stanley Park to take on an in-form Everton side that has lost just once over the last six games. We look at the three key battles that will have a big impact on the outcome of one of the most fierce derbies in world football.
Liverpool FC will travel to Goodison park hoping to maintain their 100% unbeaten record in away games under manager Brendan Rodgers against their cross-town rivals.
Liverpool, however, are a point behind Everton in the table and anything but a win will not be received well by Liverpool fans. The pressure on manager Brendan Rodgers is immense, and he must deliver. Although reports are rife that the manager will resign after the game, regardless of the results, it remains to be seen how credible the reports are.
Liverpool will have most of their first XI players rested, after manager Brendan Rodgers gave them a break during the midweek tie against FC Sion. Everton meanwhile, have had a full week to prepare for the game, and come into the tie following a 3-2 win over West Brom.
Daniel Sturridge vs Phil Jagielka
Daniel Sturridge’s return has galvanised Liverpool FC, with the forward scoring two beautiful goals in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa.
The goals showed what the Reds have been missing — that bit of quality in the final third.
The task of stopping the English forward on Sunday will be given to England international defender and Everton captain Phil Jagielka.
Jagielka has been in superb form for both club and country, and how the defender contains Daniel Sturridge will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.
Philippe Coutinho vs Gareth Barry
Coutinho has been one of the few shining lights in what has been a poor 2014-15 for the Reds. Even this season, in two out of the three games Liverpool won, Coutinho was at the centre of everything good.
The development of his shooting ability has made him an even more dangerous player, who, when given half a yard can punish you.
Besides this, Coutinho can punish any side, given his ability to find a player with his eye of the needle passing. It is fair to say that he is the heartbeat of the Reds’ attack.
Which is why, if Everton are to come away with a positive result, they have to stop Coutinho from affecting the game from the no. 10 position.
The task of stopping the tricky Brazilian will be given to Everton’s Gareth Barry. Barry will have to use all his experience and be on top his game to stop Coutinho.
This battle will go a long way in determining the winner of the game.
Romelu Lukaku vs Mamadou Sakho
Lukaku has shown glimpses of returning back to the same form that convinced Roberto Martinez to shell out 27m GBP for him. He has scored four times and assisted two goals in seven games for Everton so far, in the Premier League.
His pace and power has been a constant thorn in the opposition’s defence, which means he gets most of the attention from the defenders while midfielder Ross Barkley can do the damage for the Blues.
Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho will be tasked with stop Lukaku from hurting an already fragile Liverpool defence that has conceded 9 goals in 7 games.
Sakho had been the standout defender for Liverpool last year and it has been no different this season, either. Brendan Rodgers’ decision to drop him early in the season surprised everyone, however, Sakho has won back his position and will take some shifting.
If the Frenchman continues his solid form and manages to stop Lukaku, Liverpool will be in a very strong position to win the tie.