IT’S DERBY TIME! The Reds are coming off the back of a seriously impressive 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow in midweek, and are looking to continue a very impressive run of games undefeated against the Ev at Anfield, with the last time the Toffees getting all three points over our side of Stanley Park coming in 1999. With Sam Allardyce now in charge of a slightly resurgent Everton side, it’ll be interesting to see how the first of at least three Merseyside derbies this season, pans out. Match-day 16? Into these.
Unfortunately, and if you told me that I’d be saying that this is unfortunate a year ago, I would have bitten your head off, Alberto Moreno is out of this weekend’s game after being forced off with injury just before half-time in the victory on the weekend, and alongside the Spaniard, Joel Matip, Adam Bodgan, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana all remain out with injury, leaving Jurgen Klopp with a few decisions to make in terms of personnel. Moreno’s injury comes at a horrible time for him, with such a busy schedule of games coming up for Liverpool over the next few weeks, he would have been involved in many of those fixtures and would’ve been given the chance to silence whatever remains of the people that doubt him.
Fortunately, Everton are swamped with injuries at the moment, with the list of players on the sidelines seemingly growing by the day. Maarten Stekelenburg, Ross Barkley, Leighton Baines, Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy are all out of contention for a starting spot in the derby, leaving the Bluenoses with little to no options in terms of capable starting options.
This is going to be an interesting one, with Jurgen Klopp fielding a full-strength side in the demolition of Spartak in midweek, will there be ample time to rest and recover for everyone in the squad before Sunday? My guess is yes. I personally think everyone will be up for the game and we’ll see Jordan Henderson return to the starting line-up. There’s also the decision to be made as to who replaces Moreno at left-back and as much as I would like it it to be Andy Robertson, I think Klopp will favour good ol’ Jimmy Milner given the circumstances of the derby. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could push into the midfield should Liverpool rotate slightly, but I think Klopp knows how important a result is to Liverpool fans in this fixture. Mignolet will also rightly come back in for Karius, and I can see a similar look throughout the rest of the team, with Joe Gomez still not getting a chance at centre-half. Ugh.
Liverpool: Simon Mignolet; Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Dejan Lovren, James Milner; Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho; Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah
Everton: Jordan Pickford; Jonjoe Kenny, Ashley Williams, Michael Keane, Cuco Martina; Idrissa Gueye, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Tom Davies, Aaron Lennon; Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho
Oh Phil, you aren’t half determined to snake us. Looking for reassurances that he’ll be able to join Barcelona in the summer, Philippe Coutinho will be absolutely instrumental in the way that the ‘fab four’ will function on Sunday, I just hope that his entire mind and soul is in the red jersey that he is wearing, and not just on trying to impress Barca. There’s not much else to it, Coutinho is extremely important.
Everton: Wayne Rooney
From Everton, to Manchester United, back to Everton, Wayne Rooney’s playing career is one that is inherently loathed amongst Liverpool fans and the reception for him will be nothing short of hostile when the Toffees visit Anfield. He is used to this kind of pressure though, and in the kind of form he’s in, even scoring a hat-trick a couple weeks ago, he could be the difference for the Ev.
HOPEFULLY, I am right, but I am extremely, extremely confident heading into the game on Sunday. Everton have started to pick up some form and will come into the game on Sunday thinking that they can get some sort of result, but with Big Sam Allardyce in charge, I personally think that Everton will set-up extremely defensively to their detriment. I can see Liverpool getting another four here, with my head saying it’ll finish 4-0 or 4-1. My heart? My heart says it’ll finish 12-0 with Mane scoring a hat-trick and the rest of the fab four getting braces. Just imagine the scenes.