Everton host Liverpool at Goodison Park as Merseyside stands divided in their first derby of the 2015-16 Premier League campaign.
Goodison Park is the stage for the first Merseyside of the present campaign of the Premier League. The fixture has often yielded historic matches but this season, there is added flair with the presence of two quality managers in Jurgen Klopp and Ronald Koeman.
Everton have seen both sides of the coin under Koeman. A brilliant start followed by a run of losses that saw the former Southampton boss’s men booed off by the Toffees crowd at home. But, with the Merseyside derby in horizon, Everton managed, perhaps, the best morale-boosting victory in a 2-1 triumph of Arsenal.
Liverpool too had seen their run of good form arrested with two consecutive draws. But the Reds traveled to the Riverside Stadium and achieved a result that many others have failed this season, a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at what is expected to be a pulsating affair as Merseyside flocks the Goodison in anticipation of the derby.
Team News & Tactics
Phil Jagielka would be gutted to be missing the Merseyside Derby after the Englishman received his marching orders late during the midweek triumph against Arsenal. The player’s absence could turn out to be costly for Toffees and it would be intriguing to see if Funes Mori would be able to match or even surpass Jagielka’s defensive presence.
The trio of Mathew Perrington, Muhamed Besic and Yannick Bolasie are still out of reckoning while Gareth Barry is likely to be missed in the middle of the park, with the veteran doubtful for the game. Arouna Kone is also a doubt and Koeman could field the energetic West Ham loanee Enner Valencia to provide support to Romelu Lukaku.
Ross Barkley was reinstated into the starting lineup by Ronald Koeman and the England international did not let his boss down. The same would be expected of the attacking midfielder as he seems to impress the boss enough to be an automatic choice for the starting eleven.
Probable Lineups ( 4-2-3-1 ): Stekelenburg; Coleman, Funes Mori, Williams, Baines; Gueye, McCarthy; Valencia, Barkley, Lennon; Lukaku
Two successive draws hinted at Liverpool missing their star attacker Coutinho, who is set to be out for a while. But the 3-0 demolition of Middlesbrough at Riverside alleviated all the doubts with Divock Origi doing a more than able job of filling the void left by the Brazilian.
Origi is a doubt for the game but is expected to recover in time to be available for the match. Other doubts for the Merseyside derby include Joel Matip, who has been touted as the signing of the season, and Emre Can, with the duo having some trouble in the ankle region.
Daniel Sturridge is yet to return to fitness while Mamadou Sakho doesn’t seem anywhere close to returning to the first-team setup at Anfield. Marko Grujic has returned but is unlikely to be match-fit for the Monday fixture. Liverpool’s high pressing may trouble Everton but the Toffees has shown that they have a plan B in long balls and fast-paced counter attacks.
Probable Lineups ( 4-3-3 ): Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Lallana, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Origi, Firmino
1. Both Teams To Score – YES @ 1.66
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.72
3. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.72
1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 3.60
1. Everton have failed to secure a victory against Liverpool in the last six Merseyside derbies with 4 of them ending as draws.
2. Everton have a great record in the Merseyside derbies to have happened on Mondays. Out of the 7 Monday Merseyside derbies, Everton have lost just 1, winning 3 of them.
3. The Toffees have 11 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side in the league.
4. Both the teams have been poor at the back this season, conceding 20 goals in the first 16 games of the season.
5. Romelu Lukaku has five goals in his last eight appearances against Liverpool in the Premier League.
Everton 2 – 2 Liverpool
Everton have some momentum going into the match and even though Liverpool are in some crazy run, the defeat of Arsenal combined with the occasion that the Merseyside derby serves might just bring the best out of Everton’s quality squad on Monday. Both the teams look defensively a bit fragile and it seems almost imminent that neither would be able to keep a clean sheet in the derby.
Coutinho’s absence may just hinder Liverpool’s ability to snatch a victory and a draw looks the most likely result.