Liverpool vs Everton: Preview, team news and score prediction
Liverpool host Everton this evening, in what is the 24th meeting between them in this competition. The Reds lock horns with the Toffees for the second time this season, following a 1-1 draw in the league at Anfield.
It may have been a result that left a bitter taste in manager Jürgen Klopp’s mouth, given his side’s domination in the match, though it only counted as a small blemish over a fine record of 16 games unbeaten in all competitions and it is one the German will expect his side to put right.
The Reds will also be out to avoid a repeat of last season’s performance in the fourth round when Wolverhampton Wanderers stunned the home crowd to knock Liverpool out with a 2-1 win.
Give Everton that result before the game and they will likely pull your hand off for it. Sam Allardyce leads his side back to Anfield after a respectable draw last time out but with the cloud of having secured no wins at the home of the Toffees’ rivals since 1999 still hanging over their heads.
The Goodison Park outfit are without a win in their past four games, the last two of which were defeats. Everton suffered a third-round exit at home to Leicester City last season in a match that ended 2-1 and face a tough test in the shape of their Merseyside neighbours to better that.
Liverpool have £75 million signing Virgil van Dijk available to play following his first week of training with his new club. Klopp could give him his home debut.
The German confirmed that Philippe Coutinho and CAF African Player of the Year winner Mohamed Salah will miss the match due to thigh and groin injuries, respectively. Reds Captain Jordan Henderson (hamstring) and full-back Alberto Moreno (thigh) also remain sidelined.
There is no fresh injury news for Everton, just that Ross Barkley, Leighton Baines, Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman remain unavailable for selection.
This will be a tough encounter for both sides and the starting line-up of each will probably determine just how seriously each manager regards the FA Cup.
Transfer rumours concerning top playmaker Coutinho have been causing Reds fans a headache all week, so expect the Anfield faithful to be at their loudest best, as they will want their side to prove they can get the job done without the Brazilian – the possible inclusion of Van Dijk would certainly play an important role in achieving that.
Everton will once again hope to get one over their rivals and adopting a defensive approach in hope for a draw may not be a bad idea, as a Goodison Park replay could provide a better chance of progression.
Liverpool remain the favourites, though, and will be confident in their ability to make it 17 games unbeaten.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Everton