Number 200: is this the biggest Merseyside derby yet ?
Everton have won only 2 of their last 7 games in all competitions and manager Marco Silva is already said to be under pressure in his first season with the toffees. Despite the poor form, Everton are still in 9th place and outside of the ‘big 6’ only Wolves and surprise package Watford are ahead of them.
The Blues won their last game 3-0 against Cardiff City so come into the 200th Merseyside derby with confidence. Last time out only a 96th minute winner from Divock Origi separated the two teams in December, and this time Everton would love nothing more than to get the victory and derail Liverpool’s title hopes.
The Toffees have no fresh injury worries, with defenders Kurt Zouma and Phil Jagielka both included in the squad last time out, Leighton Baines is also back in training and could be in contention.
Liverpool’s race for their first Premier League title is in the final furlong, the Anfield club has wobbled recently winning only 3 of their last 7 games, drawing 4 and allowing Manchester City to cut the gap down to just 1 point. Now any slip up could see Guardiola’s side swap places at the top of the league.
The reds smashed 5 past Watford on Wednesday in a fantastic display, showing their doubters that the pressure won’t hold them back. They will also be buoyed by the fact that it’s now 8 years since Everton last won against them, also no club has won more games at Goodison Park than Liverpool.
The Reds defence has been vital to their form this season and in arguably the world’s best defender Virgil Van Dijk they have a threat at both ends of the field with the Dutchman scoring twice last time out, this is ominous for an Everton side top among the teams that have conceded the most goals from set pieces.
Liverpool will be without defenders Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez, forward Roberto Firmino should return after his injury in the Manchester United game.
With all these stats in mind it looks like a hard day at the office for Everton but keep this in mind that 5 of the last 10 Merseyside derbies have ended in a draw, couple this with a chance to potentially knock their City rivals off the premier league summit the old cliche rings true, all form goes out the window in a derby.
Wayne Edge @oasis1711