Liverpool and Everton both had disappointing mid week clashes in the Capital One Cup. While Liverpool managed to emerge victorious in a 14-13 penalty shoot out against Middlesbrough, Everton were comprehensively defeated by Swansea at Goodison Park. Both teams would be looking to come back from their lackluster performances and defeat their biggest rivals.
The first Merseyside derby of the season is at Anfield. The 45,000 fans will be all charged up and the club anthem would be on everyone’s lips.
The match is scheduled to kick off at 17:15 IST on a Sunday which would make it a 12:45 kick off BST. The match is scheduled to be telecasted on Star Sports 4 (in India).
Liverpool has been thrown into a crisis with Philippe Coutinho injured along with Joe Allen and Emre Can. Jordan Henderson too picked up a knock last match week but is expected to be fit and ready to start. Though Daniel Sturridge has returned to training after a three week layoff with a thigh injury, he would not be expected to start the match due to lack of match fitness.
Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana were two players who played 120 minutes in mid week and would be expected to start. Steven Gerrard, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel and Alberto Moreno were rested for the mid week fixture and would be fresh for the derby.
The predicted line up for Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno, Gerrard, Lallana, Henderson, Balotelli, Borini.
Everton suffered a miserable week. They lost to Crystal Palace on the weekend and then again were routed by Swansea. They made seven changes to the team that played against Swansea. Lukaku is expected to be back in the starting lineup against the Reds
Ross Barkley is a long term injury absentee. Along with that, Seamus Coleman’s involvement too is a doubt while Steven Pienaar might be ready to return after his injury.
The predicted line up for Everton: Howard, Baines, Stones, Gibson, Jagielka, McCarthy, Barry, Mirallas, Naismith, Lukaku, McGeady.
Key Facts and Stats
- In the recent past, Liverpool has recorded 2 wins and 3 draws against Everton. One of the wins was a 4-0 drubbing of Everton at Anfield last season.
- Everton have not defeated Liverpool at Anfield for 15 years.
- The Merseyside derby has the record for most red cards than any other game in the Premier League.
Gerrard v/s Naismith
Steven Gerrard has had a poor start to the season. He has failed to impact the match in the both the defeat at West Ham as well as against Aston Villa. Teams have successfully put a striker on Gerrard to nullify his presence in the match. This makes it difficult for him to thread his trademark through balls or make runs beyond the midfield. The captain has been restricted to sideways passing and has been defensively exposed as well.
Naismith is the type of player who buzzes around the holding midfielders. He would be expected to mark the opposing team’s captain and make it difficult for him to construct the play. Naismith can drop into the hole behind Gerrard and create problems for the Liverpool defense.
Balotelli v/s Distin
Balotelli has had an average start to his Liverpool career but has shown glimpses of his ability in matches. The Italian is known for scoring in important goals in crucial matches. He might be able to take advantage of Everton’s leaky defense that has conceded 3 goals in their last two matches. It is up to Distin to nullify his aerial threat.
Lovren v/s Lukaku
Lukaku is always a threat to opposition defenses. He has scored 2 premier league goals in 5 matches and he would be looking forward to face a shaky Liverpool defense. Liverpool has kept only one clean sheet this season and Lovren too has looked susceptible to mistakes. Lovren must start proving his worth to the manager and keeping the Belgium striker silent would be a good way to start.
Liverpool has the home advantage and the fans’ encouragement in a derby match should help them put up an inspired performance. Liverpool should emerge as 2-1 victors with Daniel Sturridge coming off the bench and scoring a winner.
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