EVERTON VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW
Liverpool make the short trip to Goodison Park on Wednesday night as they face off against local rivals Everton for the first Merseyside derby of the season. The Reds come into the game third on the log, just 2 points behind leaders Chelsea, whilst Everton have slipped to 14th after a run of defeats. Read on for a preview of the game.
Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is of course in charge of the Toffees, having taken charge in the summer. It is an awkward time for a reunion as his new side is currently struggling and home fans who were against his appointment in the first place, have gained further ammunition to aim at him.
It is a quite horrendous run of form they are on right now, and you fear for Rafa’s job should the Reds manage to find victory at a ground they haven’t won at since 2016. Everton actually got off to a promising start under the Spaniard, winning four and drawing one of their first five games of the season in all competitions.
Optimism was in the air at Goodison, with new signings Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray settling quickly and getting in amongst the goals. Richarlison (who won the Olympics with Brazil over the summer) and Calvert-Lewin also begun the season well, and it all looked rosy till a thigh injury ruled out DCL for months.
It’s all been downhill from there, with the last ten matches seeing just one win (against relegation threatened Norwich), and a whopping six defeats. The first of the three draws in this run saw them knocked out on penalties to QPR in the League Cup as their slim hopes of ending a trophy drought dating back to 1995 took a blow.
The two other draws saw them hold Manchester United at Old Trafford before a goalless draw at home to Spurs in Antonio Conte’s first game in charge. This horrible run coincided with injuries to not only Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but influential midfielders Andre Gomes and Abdoulaye Doucoure.
It also didn’t help that Richarlison too spent time on the sidelines. Salomon Rondon has struggled to fill in up top and Everton have struggled to score goals (8 in the last 10 matches). They scored just one goal across the whole of November and will be hoping December brings more luck infront of goal.
Liverpool on the other hand, come into the derby off the back off three straight victories with an aggregate score of 10-0. They’ve won eight of their last ten fixtures with their only defeat of the season coming away at West Ham. It is contrasting form to their bitter rivals, but like the cliche goes, ‘form goes out of the window in the derby’.
The Reds have not lost any of their last ten away fixtures to Everton, but have only won one, drawing nine. That win was secured by a Sadio Mané winner in injury time. There have been way too many stalemates in this encounter and you can’t help but feel Jürgen Klopp’s men will have to find a way to win this time round.
They are currently at their most prolific, plundering home 39 goals in just 13 league games. They also boast three of the top four highest goalscorers in the league, with the current front three of Salah, Jota and Mané sharing 25 goals between them. Everton by contrast, have only managed 20 league goals as a team.
There’s also the added layer of controversy owing to last season’s encounter. Virgil Van Dijk will come face to face with Jordan Pickford for the first time since that awful challenge by the goalkeeper damaged the Dutch captain’s ACL. It’s been a long, hard road back for the centre back.
It was rather poignant that he scored his first goal since his comeback, right before a visit to the scene he must have relived a thousand times in his mind. Thiago Alcantara will also be acutely aware of his own injury picked up on this ground last season after another terrible tackle, this time at the hands of Richarlison.
Kopites will as well remember a crude Funes-Mori challenge on Divock Origi in 2016, which arguably changed the Belgian’s career forever. It is unfortunately a theme of the Merseyside derby, with the brutality of tackles not being completely phased out. This is the fixture with the most red cards in PL history after all.
Everton did manage a 2-0 win at Anfield last season, after the injury marred 2-2 draw at Goodison Park. That win was their first league derby win since 2010 and their first at Anfield since 1999. An Everton victory in the derby is rarer than Blues would would want, and if Liverpool score first, it will likely only go one way.
That will be the plan for Jürgen Klopp and his men, to get on the ball early and dictate play to take the sting out and quieten the crowd. An early goal would be ideal in that sense. The Gwladys street faithful will get on Rafa’s back at the earliest sign of things going awry and we have to feed into that to get the win.
With the gap to Chelsea cut down to 2 points after their draw with Manchester United, we really need to start turning the screw on them and Man City. Chelsea will be away to Watford a few hours vefkre we kick off whilst City will be away to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa. An assist from Stevie will undoubtedly be highly appreciated.
To benefit from any slip ups, we have to take care of business. Having not won there for almost five years shows the level of difficult the task carries. If there’s one thing Evertonians despise more than losing, it is losing to us. Still, win we must, in this battle to the death between three top teams for the crown.
For Liverpool, Elliott (ankle), Gomez (calf) ,Jones (eye), Firmino and Keita (both hamstring) remain out. For Everton, Yerry Mina (hamstring), Tom Davies (knee) and Calvert-Lewin (thigh) also miss out through injury whilst Mason Holgate continues to serve his suspension. Andre Gomes is back in training after a calf injury however.
The free signing from Palace has been a revelation this season. Probably Everton’s best player this season, Townsend is their topscorer in the league with three strikes. He has also created the most chances (27) won the most fouls and laid on 2 assists. He’s got a wicked left foot and will carry the threat for them, alongside Richarlison.
The 23 year old has created 36 chances in the league this season, with only Bruno Fernandes (38) managing more. He’s also laid on 7 assists, with only teammate Mohamed Salah (8) providing more. He has a goal and 10 assists in his last seven starts for club and country, underlying the rich vein of form he is in right now. The Scouser will want this victory more than most.
The Portuguese international is in red hot form of late, having netted 4 goals in 4 appearances in November. His brand of movement, pace and poaching instincts have offered a different threat to what Roberto Firmino usually brings to the table. Expect him to be heavily involved here as he goes up against Michale Keane.
5 thoughts on “EVERTON VS LIVERPOOL: PREVIEW”
Not getting a win at the Goddison park for 5 years, and with the history of tackles and injuries in this derby, I fear for the Liverpool players cause Evertonians are an aggressive lot. An early goal and a psychological attack on every thing wearing blue tomorrow would go a looong way.
Our front three would torment the Everton defense, provided our midfield is clinical and are weary of those intended Everton tackles, Van dijk should score a goal to avenge for last seasons untimely injury. Liverpool for the win!🔴
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I expect us to match their physicality after what happened last year. We’ll give as much as we take
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Let’s see how Klopp would assemble his men and his approach to this game.
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