Premier League 2018-19: 5 talking points ahead of the do-or-die derby between Everton and Liverpool
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for Liverpool so far, with Manchester City breathing down their neck. This Sunday, the league leaders' next challenge is the Merseyside derby. It’s the battle of the neighbors and oh, how Everton would love for Liverpool to lose their title at Goodison Park.
So far Everton have had a mixed season, but they’re known to turn it up whenever they play against their neighbors. With Liverpool being in danger of slipping in this do-or-die derby, we take a look at the five big talking points of this match.
#1 Gegenpressing is back
Gegenpressing had been the main motto of Liverpool’s football last season where Arsenal, Manchester City and many more teams have fallen victim. This season however, we are yet to see Liverpool counter-pressing throughout a match.
While the defence was secured with the arrival of Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker, the team had yet to put up a show of the gegenpressing tactics that they were used to. Instead, Liverpool were often satisfied with a hard fought 1-0 win.
But during the week, they welcomed Watford at Anfield and the gegenpressing was back - mainly with a fabulous display of Fabinho, Mane, Van Dijk, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold. The 5-0 win over Watford could be a major boost ahead of the derby.
#2 Roberto Firmino’s potential absence
Usually playing as a false nine, Roberto Firmino is probably one of the most important players for Liverpool. Often when he has a bad match, Liverpool end up in a tough fix. Firmino is the link between Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, providing them with hands-on delivery.
Usually a selfless player, Firmino is more likely to assist than to score, but his no-look goals have definitely made a name for themselves.
Against Watford, with Firmino out injured, Mane was tried as a false nine and he didn’t disappoint. But considering Firmino’s footballing intelligence, his absence is surely going to be felt in the match against Everton.
Jurgen Klopp believes there is a good chance Firmino will be fit in time for the Everton match, but it remains to be seen whether that actually happens.