Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday, with Jurgen Klopp hoping to leapfrog Chelsea into third place.
Liverpool are on a brilliant run of form. Jurgen Klopp seems to have found a temporary solution to plug the holes in the Reds’ defence and the same is starting to reflect in their results. With the game at Anfield, the German would hope his side continues their free-scoring run.
Everton, on the other hand, seem to have just begun steadying their ship. Two wins on the trot were enough to pull them up to 10th on the table, but they must spur on to a decent run of results now if they expect to close the gap between themselves and the top 6.
Ahead of the Merseyside derby, we take a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne both seem to be still sidelined, along with Adam Bogdan. Alberto Moreno is the latest casualty after being forced off at half-time against Spartak Moscow and is likely to miss the game. Moreno’s absence is likely to mean a rare start for Andrew Robertson unless Klopp decides to field James Milner on the left side of the defence.
There are no injuries up ahead and the quartet of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino should all start on Sunday. The midfield could see a bit of a shake-up, if Klopp does decide to rest Emre Can, which could see either James Milner or Georginio Wijnaldum step in.
Liverpool have added a potency from counter-attack after the arrival of Mohamed Salah. The duo of Salah and Mane running tandem on either side of Firmino has given the Liverpool attack some extra teeth in front of goal. The same is expected to continue on Sunday, with all attacks running through Coutinho.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Klavan, Lovren, Milner; Can, Henderson, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mane
A lot of players remain sidelined for Sunday’s fixture. But, Sam Allardyce will hope Leighton Baines can make it back in time for the game after the veteran missed the last fixture through injury. A big boost though, has arrived in the form of Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane, with the duo now fit and available for selection.
Morgan Schneiderlin is unlikely to be handed a start on Sunday after the midfielder played the entire gam against Apollon on Thursday. One of the breakout stars, fortunately, has been Jonjoe Kenny, who has been solid on the right side of the defence, ably covering the absence of Seamus Coleman.
If Baines does not manage to be available, Cuco Martina should be deputised in his stead. Dominic Calvert-Lewin should start upfront, which means Sandro Ramirez will have to again be content with an appearance on the bench. Idrissa Gueye will be key sitting in front of the defence.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Williams, Baines; Gueye; Lennon, Davies, Rooney, Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin
1. Everton Asian Handicap +2.0 @ 1.575
2. Liverpool Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.83
1. Full Time Result – Draw Or Everton @ 3.50
1. Liverpool could equal their longest run of undefeated games in the Merseyside derby (15) with a win on Sunday.
2. Everton are winless in the last 17 Premier League games away at Anfield.
3. Mohamed Salah has contributed 15 goals in the last 15 Premier League games. (12 goals, 3 assists)
4. Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in 3 of the last 5 Merseyside derbies.
5. Liverpool are yet to register a single loss in the Premier League at home this season (4 Wins, 3 Draws)
Player to Watch
This could be stated as one of his sternest tests – surely the most testing one under Sam Allardyce – for the young right-back. Jonjoe Kenny will have his hands full in order to keep Liverpool’s attacking quartet at bay, especially with the pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah as they continue to interchange flanks.
Liverpool 2-2 Everton
The absence of Joel Matip could pose some problems for Jurgen Klopp & co. defensively. Everton have also shown that they are rediscovering their pedigree for goals under new manager Sam Allardyce and we expect the Toffees to trouble the scorekeepers on Sunday.
The games in the Merseyside derby have often been close and despite the stark contrast in the two teams’ season up until now, we expect this to end in a goal-filled draw.