Liverpool will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they welcome Everton to Anfield for the 285th Merseyside derby on Wednesday.
The games continue to come thick and fast in the Premier League, with Gameweek 15 of the 2018-19 season set to begin on Tuesday. The marquee fixture of the latest matchday will be the 285th edition of the Merseyside derby, as Liverpool play hosts to Everton on Wednesday night.
Liverpool have been in a league of their own in top-flight football this season. Yet to be beaten after their first 14 games in the Premier League so far, the Reds are comfortable at the top of the table, with second-placed Leicester City eight points behind them.
For Everton, on the other hand, it has been a miserable season till date and the pressure on Marco Silva is mounting to deliver the results. But after suffering a second loss on the bounce, which was their tenth winless result in the Premier League this, the Toffees are starting to stare at a shock relegation battle as they find themselves languishing at 17th on the standings.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in 1-0 win for Liverpool, with a horrendous error by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford gifting Divock Origi an unlikely goal deep into injury time. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Jurgen Klopp does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with ahead of the visit of Everton. On Wednesday, the Liverpool boss is set to be bereft of the services of three first-team players. Chief among these injury-enforced absentees is Fabinho, who is sidelined for the remainder of 2019 due to an ankle injury.
The player who takes up the vacant holding midfield spot is a question that will bother Klopp once again, after Jordan Henderson struggled to impose himself in the position against Brighton. And so, when Liverpool face Everton, Georginio Wijnaldum could drop into the base of the three-man midfield, with Henderson reprising the no. 8 role once again.
Apart from Fabinho, Klopp will be without another key player following Alisson Becker’s bizarre dismissal this past weekend. Alisson is set to be replaced by backup goalkeeper Adrian, who will deputise for the Liverpool no. 1 much like he did earlier in the season.
The rest of the side is unlikely to see much of a change, especially in defence, where Dejan Lovren is an important player in the absence of Joel Matip. Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold pick themselves and should line up in front of Adrian.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed against Brighton and is likely to hold on to his place in the side ahead of James Milner and Naby Keita, as he continues to stake claim for a regular role in the side. Upfront, there is no looking past the first-choice trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk; Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Like his counterpart, Marco Silva has not been bothered by any new fitness troubles ahead of his side’s short trip to take on Liverpool. The Everton manager is set to be without five first-team players on Wednesday, with Andre Gomes (ankle), Jean-Phillippe Gbamin (thigh) and Cuco Martina (knee) being long-term absentees.
The two remaining players on the sidelines are Seamus Coleman and Fabian Delph, although Theo Walcott is likely to be in contention after recovering from an illness. Meanwhile, Everton boss Silva experimented with a 3-4-3 formation last time out against Leicester City.
The change in system did not exactly yield the result the Toffees would have desired, but they did look much more harder to surpass in the final third. Against a Liverpool side that has shown a tendency to struggle to impose themselves on stubborn defensive units, Silva could decide to retain the 3-4-3 formation once again.
Jordan Pickford is an automatic pick in goal, although the English international will hope to keep the mistake from last season at a safe distance. The back-three pretty much picks itself as well, with Mason Holgate accompanying Michael Keane and Yerry Mina.
In Coleman’s absence Djibril Sidibe has stepped up well and the Frenchman should line up as the right wing-back, with compatriot Lucas Digne a certain starter on the left. Sidibe and Digne will flank the resurgent Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson, with the latter being charged with pulling the strings for Everton.
Upfront, Dominic Calvert-Lewin will likely lead the line for Everton once again, with Richarlison an indispensable figure. The lineup against Liverpool should be completed by Bernard, who will be tasked with using his change of pace to deadly effect.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Pickford; Holgate, Keane, Mina; Sidibe, Davies, Sigurdsson, Digne; Bernard, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
1. Richarlison to score anytime @ 4.33
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 17 Premier League games against Everton (W7 D10). It is their longest ever unbeaten run against a specific opponent in the competition.
- Everton have failed to score in seven of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Liverpool, netting just once in each of the other four.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 31 Premier League games (W26 D5). If they avoid defeat against Everton it will be their longest ever run without defeat in top-flight history.
- Everton have conceded more 90th minute league goals than any other side this season (four), two of which have come in the last two games. Liverpool have scored more 90+ minute winning goals against Everton in the Premier League than any side has against another in the competition’s history (5)
- Jurgen Klopp has won 99 of his 158 Premier League games. Victory here will see him become the second-fastest manager to reach 100 wins in the competition, after Jose Mourinho (142 games). He would also be the fastest Liverpool manager to 100 wins in top-flight history.
Player to Watch
Alisson’s shocking decision to handle the ball outside the box against Brighton means he will not feature in the first Merseyside derby of the season. But, Liverpool fans and Jurgen Klopp might not be too worried, with Adrian set to take the Brazilian’s place.
Adrian did incredibly well in the first two months of the season, when a calf injury had kept Alisson on the sidelines. A derby, though, brings a different set of challenges, and if he manages to overcome those, the Spaniard might just write his name into Liverpool folklore. A great occasion for Adrian.
Liverpool 2-0 Everton
Wednesday will bear witness to the first of three Merseyside derbies that are set to be played this season. Both Liverpool and Everton will be eager to lay down the marker ahead of their remaining meetings this season and there will be very little margin for error.
Liverpool have started looking more vulnerable with each passing month, especially with attack not looking up to the mark lately. Their scratchy form means another close Merseyside derby could be on the cards, although Everton are unlikely to pose a great deal of threat in front of goal due to a lack of cutting edge.
Expect a game that will be played out a lot in the midfield, with Liverpool’s superior form pulling them clear as the game wears on. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for Jurgen Klopp & co. who will also keep their first clean sheet at Anfield this season in the process.