Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Robert Madley
Date & Time – Friday, January 5th @ 19:55 GMT
Current Odds – Liverpool 2/5, Draw 7/2, Everton 13/2
It’s now 16 games undefeated in all competitions for Liverpool, the best run Klopp has enjoyed since his arrival on Merseyside. They have won 11 and drawn 5 since the 4-1 hammering suffered against Spurs. It’s been a great run after a difficult couple of months in September and October. This includes an 80% win rate in the last five games with the last two victories over Leicester and Burnley being the most impressive in terms of character. Liverpool came from behind to beat the Foxes after Vardy’s early strike while Burnley’s late equaliser on Monday would have been enough to knock the wind out of most teams. However, they kept going and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s free-kick was met by the pure desire of Lovren’s leap and header and Klavan made sure of it at the back post.
“Character” became a joke term around Liverpool due to Rodgers’ overuse of the word in the wrong situations. Yet, we find ourselves now with a Liverpool team who are at fault for losing the highest amount of points from winning positions in the league. Liverpool have been lacking a mix of character and game-management or game intelligence. That’s why the Burnley result was huge. I, like many of you, was very surprised to see Liverpool bounce back with a winner in such a short space of time. That took character.
Since Allardyce’s arrival, he has somewhat steadied the ship for the Toffees. However, the last two games have seen poor performances from the men in blue. Defeat at Bournemouth was followed by a “roll over and die” display at home to United on Monday. Allardyce was always fond of handing the three points over to Fergie’s United and it seems he’s planning on keeping that tradition going.
Friday night will most likely be an attempted carbon copy of the recent league draw at Anfield. Allardyce will be going for more of the same so it will be another chance for Klopp to fine-tune Liverpool’s tactics against a low-block setup.
Liverpool Team News
Clyne is unavailable until February with a back injury. Moreno (ankle) is still out and will be for another couple of weeks, at least. Jordan Henderson is out with his hamstring injury and Mo Salah isn’t expected to be available for selection for another couple of weeks due to his groin strain.
The transfer window has brought along a new phantom-injury for Phil Coutinho, too. I’m not going to have a go at the little magician. He’s been fantastic this season for Liverpool, probably playing the best football of his career. I will support him when he leaves for Barca, too. I just hope that doesn’t happen
EVER!! until next season.
Daniel Sturridge is still lacking in match fitness but this cup tie could be the ideal opportunity for the striker to get some game minutes under his bench.
New signing, Virgil van Dijk, is available for the Reds but it’s unclear when Klopp intends to give him his first start. Personally, I think van Dijk will start on Friday.
Liverpool have no suspensions for this game.
Liverpool’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)
- P. Coutinho ————- 8.03
- M. Salah —————– 7.67
- R. Firmino ————– 7.40
Everton Team News
Everton’s long-term injury list contains the names of Stekelenburg, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Funes Mori, and Ross Barkley. Idrissa Gueye is also a slight doubt for this game after picking up a slight knock.
Jonjoe Kenny should continue his impressive season at right-back in Coleman’s absence. Young sensation, Calvert-Lewin, will be up front ahead of the creative trio of Sigurdsson, Rooney, and Aaron Lennon. James McCarthy got some minutes against United on Monday and will be pushing to start at Anfield.
Everton have no suspensions for this game.
Everton’s Top 3 Rated Players this season (WhoScored.com)
- Jonjoe Kenny ————— 7.01
- Cuco Martina ————— 6.97
- Mason Holgate ————- 6.95
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Karius; Alexander-Arnold, van Dijk, Klavan, Robertson; Milner(c), Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Mané, Solanke, Firmino
Everton XI (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Jagielka, Martina; Gueye, McCarthy; Lennon, Rooney(c), Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin
When they last met
Back in mid-December, Everton managed to sneak a point in Allardyce’s first Merseyside derby when Rooney scored a late penalty after the Reds had dominated the game but failed to take their chances. The last time the teams met in the FA Cup was the Wembley semi-final in April 2012. Jelavic gave Everton a first-half lead in that game but Suarez equalised after the break and Andy Carroll scored the late winner. In the 08/09 season under Rafa, Everton knocked Liverpool out in a 4th round replay at Goodison Park. Dan Gosling popped up with a 118th-minute winner that night!
Liverpool 2 – 1 Everton
Klopp will rotate his side, again. However, after the impressive win at Burnley with a weakened team, we are beginning to see the gradual improvement in Liverpool’s strength-in-depth. Klopp made seven changes for the game at Turf Moor after coming from behind to beat Leicester 48 hours previously. That’s why I’m confident of the win on Friday, no matter what kind of changes Klopp makes.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against”