Liverpool will be looking to consolidate their fourth position when they play host to local rivals Everton.
After the international break, the Premier League finally resumes its proceedings, and it begins with a cracker. Two Merseyside rivals, Liverpool and Everton, will play for bragging rights and table positions at a lunch-time kick-off at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool undoubtedly go into this one as favourites, particularly due to them playing at home. The Toffees have struggled during their trips to Anfield, and Jurgen Klopp could make his side attack from the offset and heap pressure on the opposition.
Sadio Mane is likely to play a key role if Liverpool are to come away with three points. Since his big-money move from Southampton in the summer, he has gone on to become their most influential player, and could wreak havoc on the Everton defence.
Philippe Coutinho has been another vital cog in the Liverpool attack over the past few years, but his performances have taken a minor bump of late. However, it usually takes the Brazilian one could performance to return to his prolific best, and he would love to do it against Liverpool’s local rivals.
That being said, it is going to be far from a walk in the park for the home side, as Everton have been in a good run of form themselves. They have been solid defensively with Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka forming a fascinating understanding at the back.
Ramiro Funes Mori has been exceptional in the stead of these centre-backs and has proven to be more than an adept replacement for either of the duo. Leighton Baines too, is showing no signs of ageing, and is going strong at 32.
At the other end, Romelu Lukaku’s showings in front of goal have contributed a huge deal to Everton’s seventh-placed table position. The Belgian leads the scoring charts in the league this season, and will be a massive torture for the Liverpool defenders.
Simon Mignolet in goal seems to be a no-brainer as Loris Karius is lacking matching sharpness, and has also been poor between the sticks for Liverpool this season. In defence, Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner will start as full-backs while Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip will play centrally.
Jordan Henderson is going to be a huge miss in midfield, which will see Lucas Leiva return to the fold. Unfortunately for the Reds, they will also be bereft of the services of Adam Lallana on the left side of the midfield trio. Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can are thus, expected to partner Lucas in the middle of the park.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho will form the front three while Divock Origi is expected to make a cameo off the bench in the second period.
Liverpool Probable XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Wijnaldum, Lucas, Can; Mane, Firmino, Coutinho.
For Everton, Seamus Coleman is ruled out after he suffered a career-threatening injury on international break courtesy of a malicious challenge by Wales’ Neil Taylor. Mason Holgate seems to be the obvious replacement for the Irishman.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s absence could see Everton deploy a three-man midfield comprising of Tom Davies, Gareth Barry and Idrissa Gueye. Romelu Lukaku is set to lead the line with wing services from Dominic Kalvert-Lewin and Ross Barkley.
Everton Probable XI: Robles; Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Davies, Barry, Gueye; Kalvert-Lewin, Lukaku, Barkley.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 12 league encounters with Everton (W5 D7 L0). Only once before have they gone on a longer undefeated run against their neighbours (13 games between 1972 and 1978).
- Everton’s last Premier League win at Anfield was in September 1999 (W0 D8 L8 since) and they have lost two of their last three away games there by a 0-4 scoreline.
- This fixture has seen 21 red cards shown, more than any other Premier League fixture. Ramiro Funes Mori was sent off at Anfield last season for Everton.
- Jurgen Klopp could become the first Liverpool manager to win his first three league Merseyside derbies against Everton.
- Romelu Lukaku has scored five times against Liverpool in the Premier League, but only one of those goals has come at Anfield (February 2013 for West Brom).
- He (21 goals) is the first Everton player to score 20-plus goals in a single Premier League season. In comparison, Liverpool have seen a player score 20-plus goals in a Premier League season on six occasions.
- The Belgian striker has scored 11 goals and assisted three more in 10 Premier League appearances for Everton in 2017 so far.
1. Over 4.5 Cards @ 1.66
2. Full Time Result – Draw or Everton @ 2.15
3. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.70
1. James Milner to score anytime @ 4.50
2. Ross Barkley to score anytime @ 5.50
Player to watch out for
Not the most glamorous of names on the teamsheets, this could prove to be a big name for the Brazilian. It’s been a topsy-turvy season for him as he has struggled to play as a defender and has often been caught off the pace. He will have a different role to play against Everton, and it would be interesting to see how good he is at shielding the defence.
Liverpool 1-1 Everton
Liverpool will be without two key names in midfield, and that could go a long way in shaping the outcome of the contest. Henderson and Lallana have both been exceptional for the Reds this season, and Can and Lucas may not be quite the replacements for them. Also, Lukaku is on an amazing goal-scoring run, and is expected to bag another one at Anfield.