Venue – Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee – Mike Dean
Date & Time – Sunday, June 21st @ 19:00
Current Odds – Everton 9/2, Draw 10/3, Liverpool 8/15
Over three months since Liverpool’s last Premier League outing, a 2-1 home win against Bournemouth, The Reds return to action this weekend. Sunday night sees Jürgen Klopp’s men make the short trip to Goodison Park for a Merseyside derby with a difference – no fans in the stadium. This is the ‘new normal’. How long for, we just don’t know. What we do know is that Liverpool are six points away from what will be the club’s 19th league title success. It’s on the way. Can they take a huge step towards securing the title with a win at Everton?
Everton sit in 12th place in the Premier League. Their last game was a 4-0 defeat away to Chelsea back in early March. Before that, The Toffees drew 1-1 at home to Manchester United and lost 3-2 at Arsenal.
Carlo Ancelotti has struggled to instil any real consistency in Everton since his arrival in December.
October 2010 was the last time Everton managed to win a derby – against a Roy Hodgson-led Liverpool, might I add.
Liverpool’s last competitive fixture was against Atletico Madrid at Anfield. Diego Simeone’s Spanish side beat The Reds 3-2 after extra time to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
In the weeks before that, Liverpool had also exited the FA Cup at Chelsea (2-0) and suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season away to Watford (3-0).
With three and a half months away from competitive action, it’s impossible to predict what form any club will return in. Let’s hope The Reds get off to a flyer.
Everton Team News
Carlo Ancelotti looks to be without Theo Walcott, Morgan Schneiderlin, Cenk Tosun and Jean-Philippe Gbamin for Sunday’s fixture.
Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph are also both carrying slight knocks but should be available for selection to face Liverpool.
Ancelotti will likely stick with his preferred 4-4-2 formation with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison leading the line.
Liverpool Team News
Xherdan Shaqiri is still listed as a doubt due to a calf injury, incredibly. Quite what is going on in relation to Shaqiri is anyone’s guess at this stage.
Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson are both back fully fit after missing last week’s friendly win over Blackburn Rovers.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is expected to be fit as well despite coming off injured in that same game.
Jürgen Klopp will have Alisson back in goals as the Brazil international is also back to full fitness.
Liverpool’s first-choice back four should be lining out with Joe Gomez set to continue his central-defensive partnership with Virgil van Dijk.
Jordan Henderson, who turned 30 on Wednesday, should captain the side in midfield alongside Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum.
The front three is likely to consist of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.
Everton XI (4-4-2) – Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne; Bernard, Davies, Gomes, Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
WHEN THEY LAST MET
The sides already met twice at Anfield this season.
Liverpool won the league fixture 5-2 back in December. Divock Origi (x2), Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mané and Gini Wijnaldum were the scorers for The Reds. Michael Keane and Richarlison scored Everton’s goals that night.
In January, Liverpool’s youngsters knocked a full-strength Everton side out of the FA Cup in the third round. Curtis Jones scored the game’s only goal with a brilliantly taken strike into the top corner from just outside the box.
EVERTON 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL
Everton would have loved the crowd behind them for this fixture. It certainly will be different to watch a Merseyside derby without thousands of fans in the stands. The game is sure to still have plenty of bite, though. I think Liverpool will have enough to take all three points and move ever closer to lifting the Premier League trophy.