Everton FC vs. Liverpool FC Preview
It's that time of year again, Everton vs. Liverpool is one of the most eagerly awaited matches of the season. The Merseyside derby is arguably the biggest in England and, as usual, will provide plenty of talking points.
Both teams go into the match in decent form. Last week, Liverpool beat Wolves 2-1 at home while Everton lost against Manchester City but beat Wigan the week before by three goals to one.
Glen Johnson is still highly doubtful with a hamstring injury while Daniel Agger will miss out again with a rib injury.
Everton manager, David Moyes, is hopeful Tim Cahill will be fit after sustaining a shin injury last week against Manchester City. Victor Anichebe is the Blue's only long-term absentee with a groin injury.
Liverpool fans have yet to see the full-strength starting XI under Kenny Dalglish as Steven Gerrard has been absent for so long.
This weekend's derby provides both teams with a catalyst for the rest of their seasons. A win for either team will boost confidence going into the International break. The Reds are up against Manchester United after the International break so a win tomorrow could set that fixture up perfectly.
There could be a few derby debutants lining up for both teams tomorrow. For Liverpool there is Andy Carroll, Jose Enrique, Luis Suarez, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing, Sebastien Coates and Jordan Henderson. Royston Drenthe could make his first appearance in the derby for Everton.
All of the players listed have been in high-profile derbies so the Merseyside derby may not be as hard as some people are making out. Suarez has played in the Ajax vs. Feyenoord match; Adam in the Old Firm clash; Enrique, Carroll and Henderson in the North East derby while Drenthe has appeared in the Madrid derby and El Clasico.
Both managers are looking forward to the match tomorrow, Moyes has spoken of the gap in finances between the two Merseyside giants: "Liverpool have had a level of finance which has allowed them to buy a different level of player. I don't think I look with envy. I'm just stating facts. It has never been any different here."
Kenny Dalglish has urged his players to show maximum commitment against Everton but also keep their cool.
"The most important thing for us is to be confident, composed and have the belief we can win the game" he said.
- This will be the 185th league meeting between the two sides. Liverpool have 70 victories and Everton 57.
- Everton have won just one of their last nine Premier League encounters with Liverpool - a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park last season.
- Liverpool have won three of their last four Premier League games at Goodison Park.
- David Moyes will join Harry Catterick and Bill Shankly as the only bosses to manage teams in Merseyside derbies in 10 consecutive seasons - he has won three of his previous 18 Premier League games against Liverpool, all of them at Goodison Park (10 defeats).
- Tim Cahill has scored five Premier League goals in this fixture - the most league goals by an Everton player against Liverpool since Dixie Dean - but has failed to score for Everton in 2011. His run of 15 league matches without a goal is his longest drought in six years.
- Tony Hibbert will equal Duncan Ferguson's club record of 16 Premier League derbies if he plays, and if he fails to score he will also draw level with Brian Labone's record run of 278 first-team games without a goal.
- Everton have lost only one of their last 14 Premier League games at Goodison Park - a 1-0 defeat by QPR in their first game of this season.
- Their leading scorer this season is Mikel Arteta, who is no longer at the club, with two goals.
- As a player, Kenny Dalglish scored five goals for Liverpool against Everton. As Liverpool manager, he has faced the Toffees 21 times (W11, D7, L3). He is unbeaten in his last eight Premier League games against Everton as boss of Liverpool, Newcastle and Blackburn.
- Liverpool have won just two of their last seven Premier League games away from Anfield.
- Luis Suarez has scored seven goals in his first 19 league games. Fernando Torres scored 11 in the equivalent time.
- If Dirk Kuyt scores it will be his 50th Premier League goal and his sixth in Premier League Merseyside derbies.
- Jamie Carragher has played 24 Premier League Merseyside derbies, more than any other player.
I'm not the best at making predictions but I'll give it a shot. If Liverpool play the way they are capable of then they will win, that's a fact. The same could be said of Everton, though.
The fact that it's a derby throws all form out of the window so it's extremely hard to call. I'll put my neck on the line and go for:
Everton 2-3 Liverpool.
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