Liverpool will be hoping to keep pace with Manchester City when they host Everton in the first Merseyside derby of the season at Anfield on Sunday
Sunday is Derby Day in the Premier League, with major implications in the title picture as well as the top four race. Three local rivalries will be on show in London and Liverpool, with Gameweek 14 ending with the Merseyside derby, with Liverpool and Everton meeting for the 232nd time at Anfield.
Liverpool have been solid for the most part in the Premier League, with the Reds yet to be beaten after the first 13 gameweeks, although their recent form has been a little questionable. This form saw Jurgen Klopp’s men being beaten 2-1 by PSG in the UEFA Champions League, a result which has left their hopes to qualify for the knockout stages in the balance.
In league football though, the Reds have shown the quality of champion sides, winning without being at their absolute best at times. Their opponents on Saturday, Everton too, have been on a roll lately, losing just one of their last seven outings in the Premier League.
The squad is starting to adapt to Marco Silva’s methods, which has been evident in their gritty performances over the last month or so. The positive run of results has reflected in their ascent up the Premier League table as well, with the Toffees climbing up to 6th.
The corresponding fixture last season had ended all square, with a Wayne Rooney penalty negating Mohamed Salah’s first half goal. Ahead of Anfield’s 100th top-flight Merseyside derby, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Jurgen Klopp does not have any major injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of Everton, with all of his regulars fully fit. The only pressing issue for the Liverpool boss on Saturday will be the absence of club captain Jordan Henderson, who is suspended after being sent off for two bookable offences against Watford last weekend.
While there are ample replacement options at his hands, Klopp will have a couple of key decisions to make before Sunday’s game, the more crucial of them being that of the formation. Liverpool seem to be finding their feet in the 4-2-3-1, despite Roberto Firmino’s obvious early struggles, and should revert to the system on Sunday.
The change in formation should see Xherdan Shaqiri return to the starting lineup, after he was relegated to the bench against PSG. Firmino, as iterated earlier, will start in the hole, looking to use his excellent work-rate to negate the impact of Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes. Mohamed Salah will look to add to his goals tally, starting as the “central striker” for Liverpool.
Meanwhile, the other big decision that Klopp needs to take surrounds the midfield pivot. Fabinho has usually provided promising signs when starting as the holding midfielder, doing a lot of the dirty work to alleviate some of the responsibilities off the shoulders of the box-to-box midfielder, who has usually been the energetic Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutchman should start alongside Fabinho once again, looking to complement both Firmino and Fabinho with a lively performance. At the back, Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to return to the right side of the Liverpool defence, with Joe Gomez likely to slot in as the centre-back, alongside Virgil van Dijk.
The 20-year-old will pose a threat with his ability on the dead-ball as well as his deliveries from the right flank. Alisson Becker should man the goal once again, with the Brazilian now well settled at Liverpool and set to get his first taste of the Merseyside derby.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho; Shaqiri, Firmino, Mane; Salah
Marco Silva has no issues whatsoever hampering his preparations for the crunch tie against Liverpool. On Sunday, the Everton boss will be able to boast a clean bill of health, with Ademola Lookman the last player off the treatment table last weekend. No player is suspended either, meaning the visitors are at full strength.
Silva is unlikely to have any contentious decisions to make as well, although Lookman is in contention to feature ahead of Bernard on the left side of the Everton attack. The manager though, could stick with the Brazilian, with Lookman being named as an impact substitute once again.
The rest of the attacking lineup is straightforward selection, with Theo Walcott, Richarlison and the in-form Gylfi Sigurdsson being the key men in the final third. The spotlight will also be on the performance of Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye, with the duo being tasked with the responsibility of keeping things tight in the middle of the park while also moving the ball forward at pace.
At the back, Yerry Mina seems to have usurped Kurt Zouma at the heart of the Everton defence since making his debut against Chelsea. The former Barcelona defender should start alongside Michael Keane once again, with Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman being the marauding full-backs. Meanwhile, Jordan Pickford will be a busy man in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison
- This is the 232nd meeting Merseyside derby in all competitions. Liverpool are unbeaten in each of their last 17 matches against Everton (W8 D9), their longest ever unbeaten run against their rivals.
- There have been more red cards awarded in this fixture than any other in Premier League history (21), although there have only been two awarded in the last 16 meetings, both to Everton; Liverpool haven’t received a red card in this fixture since February 2010.
- Marco Silva is looking to become the first Everton manager since Joe Royle in November 1994 to win his first Merseyside derby in the Premier League. No Everton manager has ever won their first league match against Liverpool at Anfield, stretching back to their first meeting in November 1894.
- Jurgen Klopp has never beaten Marco Silva in the Premier League in two previous meetings (D1 L1). The Everton boss remains the only manager the German has faced more than once without winning in the competition.
- Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in 10 of their last 11 Premier League home games, conceding only against the league’s lowest away scorers this season (Cardiff).
1. Everton Asian Handicap + 1.5 @ 1.700
2. Over 10.5 Corners @ 2.10
3. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.66
1. Over 14 Corners @ 8.00
Player to Watch
With Richarlison going off the boil somewhat since being switched into the role of a striker, Everton have depended heavily on Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic playmaker struggled considerably last season, but has now found his feet at Goodison Park at long last.
With Liverpool boasting the meanest defence at home this term, Sigurdsson will have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility, not just to net a goal but also create the chances by breaking the lines. If he indeed leads Everton to a win, the 29-year-old will have written himself in the Toffees’ folklore.
Liverpool 2-1 Everton
The 100th top-flight Merseyside derby should be an occasion to remember. With Liverpool not being at their fluent best lately, Everton will fancy their chances, even though the Reds have been near impregnable at the back at Anfield.
The Toffees are starting to find an identity under Marco Silva and having already held Chelsea to a draw, they will be coming into this match high on confidence. Expect a keenly contested affair that should be an end-to-end affair. But, Liverpool should have enough to grab all three points and keep pace with Manchester City.