With Sean Dyche making an immediate impact as the new Goodson Park boss, it should make the Merseyside Derby a real occasion this coming Monday. Liverpool appear in free-fall, and with Klopp and Dyche having a past of confrontations (on the side-lines), this should add spice to a glorious night under the Anfield lights.
Everton’s last outing saw them achieve a superb 1-0 victory (at home) against table topping Arsenal, giving their new manager a winning start they all craved. Under previous boss, Frank Lampard, they had no direction and were surely headed for relegation. With a new and structured approach to how they will be setting up, it should make for a scintillating battle after the busy weekend. In the lead up to their managerial change, the away team had suffered four straight defeats, therefore they will be hoping to prolong their new manager bounce against their closest rivals.
On the availability front, the Toffees will be without James Garner, Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson. Both Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin should be available for selection, after suffering knocks. In terms of the starting line-up, it should be the same group which were so successful last time out. In goal, England number one Jordan Pickford is a certain starter. The back four will consist of Séamus Coleman and Vitalii Mykolenko in the fullback spots, with former Liverpool player, Conor Coady, and James Tarkowski retaining their places in central defence. A five-man midfield will be tasked with outrunning their successful neighbours, with Dwight McNeil and Alex Iwobi supplying the width of that group. The middle men will consist of the ultra-impressive Amadou Onana, the experienced Idrissa Gueye, and the energetic Abdoulaye Doucouré. In terms of physicality, this powerful trio will be tasked with outmuscling the reds, whilst Dominic Calvert-Lewin takes up a central striking role.
Liverpool come into this game with a horrid run of form and results, so far this year. With no direction, no patterns of play, no real confidence, and a lack of consistent options, it really could be another tough game for Jürgen Klopp. Their last outing saw them embarrassed by Wolves, with lay weekends visit to the West Midlands seeing them trounced 3-0.
On the injury front, Jürgen Klopp is still without Virgil van Dijk for another week, with Ibrahima Konaté a week behind him. Also, on the treatment table remains Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Arthur Melo and Bobby Firmino. With such an indifferent defensive display last weekend, it could mean some drastic changes will be made.
Alisson Becker will start in goal, with both Joël Matip and Joel Joe Gomez also likely to be retained ahead of Nat Phillips, despite many calling for him to start. Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander Arnold should be the starting fullbacks, though James Milner may become an option if Trent is moved forward. The midfield may see Thiago starting, with Naby Keita looking to make another appearance. This game should see Stefan Bajčetić drop out, with either the skipper Jordan Henderson, or Fabinho drafted in to add more experience. Up front will surely see Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, and Cody Gakpo starting, in the hope they can finally find some rhythm. My hope is that a 4-4-2 is chosen here, with a simplified approach that can push Trent to right wing, and Darwin into a partnership with Mo.
Momentum could be the difference here, with Everton very much arriving with their tails up. This is a game that could break the hearts of the reds, with so much uncertainty in their beleaguered camp. With Sean Dyche likely to have his team fully pumped for battle, it may just see the Toffees outwork the home side. With Liverpool sitting in 10th and on 29 points in the Premier League, it really has to click within this game, if they are to have any chance of a top four finish. For Everton, it’s all about securing safety, with just 18 points seeing them sat 18th in the league.
With the news of Manchester City’s financial irregularities and subsequent charges, I believe this may be the distracting tool that enables the reds to react. If form is to be followed, then an overpowering away victory is likely. But with so much pressure mounted on the Anfield side, it may be that a peculiar event can trigger something within. If the reds are to prevail, they will need to work harder than ever, and pray that either Darwin or Salah can make something happen at the business end of the pitch.
Player to watch – Trent Alexander Arnold
Liverpool 2 – 2 Everton