When Liverpool and Everton meet later tonight, it will be a fight for the race to the fourth and final Champions League spot in a game that promises to live up to its billing as one of the most exciting fixtures in English football. Liverpool will be looking to get all three points following dropped points against Aston Villa, and here are three reasons why.
Not since Fowler and Owen have Liverpool had such an outstanding striker partnership. Suarez and Sturridge have scored 33 league goals between them, and are first and third in the list of top scorers respectively. They have shown an excellent understanding between them that has been one of the brightest spots in Liverpool’s season that quickly seems to be in danger of imploding.
Their understanding seems almost telepathic, and they look to feed each other’s runs every time they get the chance. While both of them had been labeled as selfish players, such has been their understanding with each other that they now look to make the pass for the other to score even if there is a shooting opportunity. Suarez set up both of Liverpool’s goals, including one for Sturridge, in the 2-0 win at Bournemouth in the FA Cup, and SAS will look to continue on their merry scoring way against Everton.
2. Everton’s injury woes
Everton have been hit hard by injuries- Bryan Oviedo suffered a horrible double-leg break against Stevenage while Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley are out injured. Steven Pienaar and Gerard Deulofeu are also indisposed, but could make it to the squad provided they make it through a late fitness test. With so many key players injured, Everton manager Roberto Martinez will have a tough time with his squad, especially given how influential the likes of Coleman, Barkley and Pienaar have been so far this season.
That is not to say that Liverpool don’t have their own injury concerns, but barring Lucas, they do have adequate replacements in all the other positions, especially with Joe Allen likely to be fit enough to make it to the bench.
3. Home advantage
Liverpool have an outstanding record at home this season having won 9 and drawn 1 of the 11 matches they have played at home this season. The only games in which they have dropped points at Anfield this season have been the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton in September and the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa last game week. Along the way, they have managed to 29 goals and conceded only 8, and kept 4 clean sheets.
Everton have a terrible record at Anfield in the recent past – previous manager David Moyes failed to win a single game at Anfield during his 8 year tenure. In fact their last win at Anfield came in 1999 when Steven Gerrard was sent off for a wild challenge. With 40,000+ fans backing up their players, the crowd can become a very important factor in such a big game when the referee’s every decision will be pressurized by a fervent home support.