The second Merseyside derby of the season comes off on Monday night (8pm GMT kickoff) as Liverpool welcome Sean Dyche’s Everton side to Anfield. Here’s a preview of the game.

It’s been a long week following the disastrous display and result at Molineux last Saturday. That 3-0 defeat saw the slow but steady progress that was being made come to an abrupt end.

Indeed, a back to basics approach had seen Jürgen Klopp’s charges grind out two consecutive clean sheets. Even the last gasp defeat at Brighton had it’s positives. That’s what made last week’s drubbing all the more worrying.

Nothing the manager is trying seems to be working, with the side getting worse by the week it seems. A couple of players returning to training this week was just the boost of positivity required after a tough time of things following the World Cup.

Van Dijk, Arthur, Firmino and Jota gave us all a boost as they joined team training this week (even though only the latter will be involved in the derby). No matter which set of players the manager picks, there must be a vast improvement on the last outing.

The minimum requirement for what is set to be another hotly contested derby is application. If the Reds can’t match the Toffees for passion, fight and intensity then there is a huge problem on the manager’s hands.

The visitors will definitely be up for it after Sean Dyche masterminded an impressive 1-0 win over league leaders Arsenal in his very first match in charge. The ex-Burnley boss replaced Frank Lampard after a truly disappointing run of results.

The Blues bullied Arsenal in midfield, with the trio of Gueye, Doucoure and Onana dominating what is largely viewed as the best midfield in the league this campaign. It was an eye catching display that injected a huge dose of belief in the fanbase.

With the Reds’ clear midfield issues, it is ominous to think of the physical battle in the middle of the pitch. This is a midfield that was battered at Wolves by Neves, Lemina and Matheus last time out after all. Add the fact that Thiago is struggling with a hip injury and it is exacebated.

It is no secret how Sean Dyche will set his side up under the lights at Anfield. They will be compact, sit deep and look to capitalise on swift counter attacks and set pieces. The onus will be on the hosts to try and break them down.

In the corresponding fixture last season, the Toffees held out for an hour, with Jürgen Klopp turning to his bench for inspiration. He brought on Luis Diaz and Divock Origi and switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

That tweak worked a treat as the two substitutes combined for the clinching goal after Robertson had broken the deadlock after 62 minutes. It is something for the manager to consider in terms of how he sets his side up for the game.

The German tactician boasts an impressive record in the Merseyside derby. In his time at the helm, he’s taken charge of nine home derbies in all competitions. The Reds have won seven of those, drawing once. His sole derby defeat came in the 2020/21 campaign.

That run of six consecutive home league defeats saw Everton clinch a first win at Anfield since 1999. The Reds currently lie tenth in the table on 29 points whilst their neighbours languish in the relegation zone despite the impressive victory last time out.

Both sides could use all three points but six of the last thirteen Merseyside derbies have ended in a stalemate. This could shape up to be another, with the reverse fixture at Goodison Park serving up a goalless draw back in September.

Team News

For Liverpool, Van Dijk, Firmino and Arthur are back in training but this game comes too soon for any of them to feature. Jota meanwhile is set for a return to the matchday squad after overcoming a calf injury that has kept him out for months.

Luis Diaz is back running but remains some weeks away from a return. Konaté remains out as well whilst Thiago battles a hip injury that has seen him miss training this week. The Spaniard will be monitored in the coming days before a final decision is made on his availability.

Sean Dyche on the other hand is sweating on the fitness of star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The Englishman has missed training this week with a thigh strain. He is ‘touch and go’ as it stands. Michael Keane, Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson remain out.



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