Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Jonathan Moss
Date & Time – Sunday, January 5th @ 16:01
Current Odds – Liverpool 17/20, Draw 29/10, Everton 29/10
The romance of the cup, eh? While I would love to see us win it in May, Jurgen Klopp and his team currently have far bigger fish to fry in the second half of this glorious season. Still, no-one wants to lose a local derby in the cup, do they? Let’s hope the young side Klopp is likely to go with can give a good account of themselves, possibly even progressing to the fourth round?
Liverpool are 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League table with a game in hand still to play. The Reds are also still going strong in the Champions League with a last-sixteen clash against Atletico Madrid to look forward to.
Form is not an issue for this Liverpool team. They’ve been red-hot for 18 months now. This FA Cup game will not take priority in what could be a history-making season for The Reds. It would still be nice to win, though, denying Everton that victory over Liverpool they covet so much.
Everton have certainly improved under Carlo Ancelotti’s leadership in recent weeks. The Italian has been in charge for four games – they won two of those games, drew one and lost one (a ‘respectable’ 2-1 defeat at Manchester City).
Ancelotti also has a good record against Jurgen Klopp in previous meetings, winning three of the six clashes. One was a draw and Klopp won the other two. However, Everton certainly are not comparable to Napoli or Real Madrid.
Liverpool Team News
While Liverpool are expecting a few players to return to full fitness within the next few weeks, the length of the current injury-list is something of a concern.
Naby Keita had to withdraw from the starting lineup in Thursday night’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United after sustaining a groin injury in the pre-match warmup. Keita is now added to the list which already contained Fabinho, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, Nathaniel Clyne and Rhian Brewster.
Make no mistake, as it stands, this FA Cup clash is the least important game remaining in Liverpool’s season. Jurgen Klopp will make wholesale changes, avoiding too much risk for any other senior players, and rightly so.
Expect a debut for Takumi Minamino while players such as Adam Lallana, Harvey Elliot and Adrian will also be given some game-time.
Everton Team News
Carlo Ancelotti has experimented with a 3-5-2 formation for some of the short time he has been in charge of The Toffees. If he goes with that shape at Anfield, it’s likely the wing-backs will be tasked with a much more defensive approach, making it a 5-3-2 formation for the visitors.
Ancelotti is without Andre Gomes, Alex Iwobi and Jean-Philippe Gbamin for Sunday’s game. Morgan Schneiderlin should be available for selection while Fabian Delph faces a late fitness test.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Adrian; Williams, Hoever, Phillips, Larouci; Lallana, Milner, Jones; Elliot, Origi, Minamino
Everton XI (3-5-2) – Pickford; Coleman, Mina, Holgate; Sidibe, Sigurdsson, Delph, Davies, Digne; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
When they last met
Liverpool beat Everton 5-2 at Anfield one month ago after Jurgen Klopp rotated the starting lineup, making five changes from the previous game. Goals from Divock Origi (x2), Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mané and Gini Wijnaldum gave The Reds an easy win and sealed the fate of then-Everton-boss Marco Silva.
LIVERPOOL 1 – 1 EVERTON
Carlo Ancelotti is one of the rare managers in world football who has a decent head-to-head record against Jurgen Klopp teams. Everton will most likely be at full strength while The Reds field a young lineup for this game. I think Everton will get at least a draw, setting up a replay at Goodison Park.