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Everton vs Liverpool: Preview of Steven Gerrard's last Merseyside Derby

SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 06 Feb 2015
Preview
Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard

Everton host Liverpool in the 224th Merseyside derby, also the longest running top-flight derby, on Saturday at Goodison Park. The Reds have been fine form and have won 5 of their last 6 games in the Premier League, and having won 2-0 against West Ham United in their last game at Anfield. Everton won their last game against Crystal Palace 1-0, but still find themselves in 12th place on the league table and might find it difficult against the in-form Reds.

Liverpool have lost just one in the last 16 Merseyside derbies in the league and are also unbeaten in 13 matches in all competitions. Daniel Sturridge is back from injury and didn’t take long to find the back of the net. Phil Jagielka’s stunner earned Everton a point at Anfield in the reverse fixture after Steven Gerrard gave Liverpool the lead. Gerrard might play in his 33rd and last derby, as he leaves for LA Galaxy at the end of the season, and Liverpool fans will be hoping for one last moment of magic from their skipper.

Venue

Goodison Park is a football stadium located in Walton, Liverpool, England. The stadium has been home to Premier League club Everton F.C. since its completion in 1892 and is one of the world's oldest purpose-built football grounds.

Kick off time: The match is scheduled to kick off at 10.15 PM IST.

Match Officials

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: G Beswick, D Cann Fourth Official: M Oliver

Probable Line-ups

Everton(4-2-3-1): Joel Robles, Seamus Coleman, John Stones, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry, Muhamed Besic, Steven Naismith, Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas, Romelu Lukaku

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Tim Howard, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar are all out due to injury for the home side. Roberto Martinez is expecting James McCarthy to be fit for the game, and Aaron Lennon might play his fist game for Everton following his arrival on loan from Tottenham for the rest of the season. Barry and Besic might take their places in the middle of the park if McCarthy is not fit to start. Christian Atsu is away on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana, and is likely to miss more of their games having helped them to reach the semi-finals. 

Liverpool (3-4-3): Simon Mignolet, Emre Can, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Alberto Moreno, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho

Brendan Rodgers might opt for a few changes, despite his side doing really well in the last few weeks. Serbian International Lazar Markovic is doubtful after he was injured during the midweek clash against Bolton in the FA Cup and might not make the starting XI. Jordan Henderson may replace him as the right wing-back allowing Rodgers to accommodate Gerrard in the starting XI.

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Former Southampton man Adam Lallana might have to sit out, after a couple of sub-par performances and Daniel Sturridge is expected to start his first game since returning from injury. Liverpool have been quite solid defensively recently, with the trio of Can, Skrtel and Sakho expected to start at the back for the Reds. Jordon Ibe was earlier recalled from his loan spell at Derby County, and has an outside chance of making it to the starting XI if Sturridge is not ready to start games yet. Controversial striker Mario Balotelli will be hoping to make it to the bench, after being dropped out of the squad against Bolton.

Everton Liverpool formation

Match Facts

  • This fixture has seen more red cards (20) than any other in Barclays Premier League history, but there have been none in the last six meetings – the longest run without one since 1996.
  • Liverpool have lost only one of their last 16 Merseyside derbies in the league (W8 D7 L1).
  • Saturday's Merseyside derby will be Brendan Rodgers' 100th BPL match in charge of Liverpool. He has won 53, drawn 24 and lost 22 of those matches. He has a win percentage of 54% which is second only to Rafael Benitez (55%) amongst Liverpool managers in the competition.
  • Only against Newcastle United (6) has Daniel Sturridge scored more BPL goals than he has versus Everton (5).

Key Battles

Philippe Coutinho vs Gareth Barry:

Barcelona star Neymar tipped Coutinho as the best player in the Premier League after his recent performances, and Barry faces a big job of keeping him quiet throughout the game. Coutinho has been unplayable at times this season. He assisted both the goals in the last game against West Ham United and with the return of Sturridge up front he might create panic in the Everton defence.

Both Barry and Besic will have to be at their best, as the Brazilian international might find not find it too difficult to dribble past them. He scored an exquisite goal against Bolton in the FA Cup to send the Reds in the FA Cup 5th round.

Ross Barkley vs Steven Gerrard:

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Steven Gerrard might play a deeper role in the midfield, and he might be up against fellow Scouser Ross Barkley. The 21-year-old might be a boyhood Liverpool fan, but he has the potential to hurt Liverpool, with his direct running and long range shooting abilities. Gerrard might give it all in his last Merseyside derby, he is expected to be pumped up for the game and Rodgers will be hoping the veteran midfielder earns his team another win at Goodison Park.

Prediction

With the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Coutinho and Raheem Sterling up front we expect Liverpool to score a couple of goals, and with their recent defensive record that might be enough to earn the Reds three points at Goodison Park.

Everton 0-2 Liverpool

Published 06 Feb 2015, 22:06 IST
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