Liverpool and Everton both have fresh injury news troubling them ahead of this weekend’s Merseyside Derby, an important one in the context of the season.
The Blues haven’t won at Anfield in around a million years, but there’s always the next one for them to change that, and with Ronald Koeman’s resurgent Toffees coming in confident mood, Liverpool will have to be at their best.
Match: Liverpool vs Everton
Date: Saturday 1st April
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Time: 12:30 BST
For the first time in 2017, Liverpool can claim to be in good form. Having won three out of four against Tottenham, Arsenal and Burnley, the Reds last encounter was a thrilling 1-1 away draw against Manchester City.
Those points have helped Klopp’s side to drag themselves firmly back into the race for the top four, and in fourth position. That’s been aided by Arsenal’s collapse, although the Reds will drop out of the Champions League spots if Manchester United win their games in hand.
In fairness to Everton, they’re in even better form, finding themselves just six points off the Reds, and maybe in with a tiny shout of still finishing in an unlikely top four spot. They desperately need three points on Saturday to keep those hopes alive.
The Toffees have only lost one league game in 12 since Sadio Mane’s 94th minute winner at Goodison Park, and that was at Tottenham. They’ve scored seven in their last two league games, conceding none, and appear to have got Romelu Lukaku back on side for the time being, despite his wishes to leave at the end of the season.
Both teams have been rocked by injury news this week. Liverpool with Adam Lallana’s thigh problem, and Everton with Seamus Coleman’s horrendous leg break.
The Reds may replace Lallana with captain Jordan Henderson, who is back after a few weeks on the sidelines, whilst Divock Origi could come into the team if Henderson isn’t deemed fit. There are no other major injury concerns for the hosts bar Daniel Sturridge, although Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho are expected to be tired after featuring twice in South America during the international break.
Coleman joins Yannick Bolasie in being a long term Everton absentee, whilst Ramiro Funes-Mori was stretchered off during international duty, perhaps a little karma kicking in after his treatment of Divock Origi in this fixture last season. James McCarthy and Morgan Schneiderlin are other injury doubts for the Blues.
Predicted Liverpool XI: Mignolet; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mane, Coutinho, Firmino.
Predicted Everton XI: Robles; Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines; Schneiderlin, Gueye; Davies, Barkley, Valencia; Lukaku.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
As previously mentioned, it was Mane who made the difference on a frosty December night at Goodison. In truth, as the Goodison derbies often are, it was a cagey and dull affair, lit up by some pyrotechnics seconds after Mane had stabbed home the rebound as a Daniel Sturridge effort hit the post. 1-0 to the Reds.
PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL 1-1 EVERTON
In truth, I’m a little worried about this one. Despite my own personal feelings that he’s a player we can upgrade on, Liverpool have lacked something when Lallana’s been out of action this season, and a quick start by Everton could see them take an early lead, most likely through Lukaku. However, pressure will boil over as the Reds fight back, eventually finding an equaliser. Wijnaldum to score, as he loves to at home and in big games. But still, two points dropped. Go on Reds, prove me wrong.