Liverpool vs Everton: Premier League match preview

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The Merseyside derby is quite possibly the biggest game of the Premier League. The rivalry between Liverpool and Everton is quite magnificent as it divides families for the day, with many falling out in the short term depending on the result.

Everton have just a small trip across Stanley Park to Anfield, with the two being separated by just one point going into this vital clash.


To say there is plenty of history between the two is an understatement. From the first game in 1894, the pair have competed in league deciding games and FA Cup finals.

In recent years, the fixture has been very much in Liverpool's favour. Last season they scraped a point away at Goodison Park due to a late Daniel Sturridge goal to claw the game back to 3-3.

The return leg at Anfield was quite different - the Reds were quite simply astonishing and romped to a 4-0 victory, heading into the half-time break already three up.

It was last in 2011 that the Toffees last took all three points, with goals coming from former cult heroes Tim Cahill and Mikael Arteta.

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Team news

Liverpool continue to have problems regarding injuries and look set to side a team similar to their 3-1 away loss against West Ham.

The midfield duo of Joe Allen and £10million summer signing Emre Can both remain on the side-lines after sustaining injuries when on international duty a few weeks ago.

The Reds also remain without right-backs Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan, who have both spent a lengthy time on the sidelines. Johnson is reportedly back in light training, however an operation has forced the latter to remain unavailable until at least November.

Nonetheless, the Reds could welcome both Sturridge and Philipe Coutinho back into the side.

Sturridge has been missing since picking up a thigh injury when on international duty with England and the Merseyside club have desperately been in a race to get the striker back to full fitness for this game.

As for Coutinho, he missed the game against West Ham but could return to make the Liverpool bench.

Everton still are without superstar Ross Barkley due to ligament damage and he continues to search for full fitness - the Blues are hoping he will return back November.

Right-back Seamus Coleman also remains a doubt to appear in the fixture, likewise Steven Pienaar and the pair will face a late fitness test before manager Roberto Martinez decides to include him in his plans or not.

Recent form

Both sides have had an extremely slow start to the 2014/15 campaign. Liverpool currently sit 11th in the Premier League with six points, having won two and lost three.

Within six minutes of their last Premier League outing the Reds saw themselves 2-0 down, with goals coming from Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho.

Youngster Raheem Sterling grabbed a goal back for Liverpool to go into the break 2-1 down, however Morgan Amalfitano netted late in the game to clinch the three points for West Ham.

Liverpool were, quite frankly, extremely poor. Defensive issues occurred last season at Anfield, with the side conceding 50 goals in the top flight. Manager Brendan Rodgers signed Dejan Lovren for £20million and Alberto Moreno for £12million this summer to make an impact at the back, but neither has so far succeeded.

There seems to be a lack of communication between the back four and, with no real leader commanding the defence, these issues could well and truly continue for some time.

The Reds haven't really created that many chances in front of goal, either. Despite Mario Balotelli working hard up front on his own, he has severely lacked service and hasn't managed to impact the game as many thought he would.

As for the away side, they are currently contending with similar problems their bitter rivals. The Toffees' defence has been shocking thus far this season and conceded 13 goals within their first five opening Premier League games.

They sit on five points, with just one top flight victory all season against West Bromwich Albion and were beaten 3-2 at home to Crystal Palace last game.

Team news impact

The return of Sturridge will be welcomed by his team, his manager and fans alike.

Liverpool have lacked the pace of the England International up front and saw themselves playing side-to-side football at times. Sturridge is capable of running at defenders and penetrating defences with his blistering pace and silky footwork he possesses on the ball.

Sturridge has a remarkable record against Everton since he joined Anfield in January 2013. He returned from injury to make a substitutes appearance in this fixture at Goodison Park last season, heading in a late goal to steal his side a point.

He then bagged himself a brace during the 4-0 thrashing in January, with his second goal being a superb effort to lob Tim Howard.

The Toffees have very much been missing Coleman this season and he is a key figure for the side both defending and attacking for the right-hand side of defence.

John Stones is one for the future and has been filling for the Irishman, however, he is a natural centre-back and has struggled to adapt to the role.

Match preview

If one thing is to be promised in his derby, it is goals. Both sides have been rocky at the back in recent times and the two have wicked forward lines.

Sterling has been menacing defenders all season - he has been the Reds' best player by a mile so far, picking up two man of the match awards already.

With Coleman missing, he will likely target that area with Stones or Tony Hibbert likely to fill the position of right-back. I expect it will be the former, however he naturally gets dragged towards the centre-backs too easily at times, which will leave floods of space for the youngster to run in to.

I see Adam Lallana starting for Liverpool in the centre of midfield, which will cause the Everton back four lots of problems. The £25million summer signing was riddled with injury for the Reds' first few games and he still searches to find the form he displayed when at Southampton.

The England International came on as a half-time substitute against West Ham and he changed the dynamic of the Liverpool side.

Lallana was positive on the ball, driving at defenders are playing some clever passes. He particularly linked well with Sterling, who was forced to play wing-back. With Sterling to play further forward, he will be able to commit himself more to attacks and should again gel with his countryman.

Liverpool, however, have to deal with the threat of the Everton attack who fired three past Chelsea and two against Arsenal.

Romelu Lukaku is a powerhouse up front and netted twice during the 3-3 draw last season. He limped off during this fixture last campaign, and the score could have been quite different if he did remain on the pitch.

The Belgian is mature beyond his age and uses his strength and speed extremely well. He will be a nuisance towards the Liverpool defence and it is likely that a few chances will go his way.

The one issue I have, is if Samuel Eto'o plays alongside him. Against Crystal Palace, the pair played a similar role and they made runs that mirrored each other.

It is unlikely that 33-year-old Eto'o will now change his game and with Lukaku being Everton's main man up front, Martinez will want him to carry on the way he has.

Midfield battle

It will be interesting to see the battle between Jordan Henderson and James McCarthy in the centre-of-midfield. The two youngsters have been mighty impressive for their sides so far and they will be clashing constantly throughout the game.

From what I've seen, McCarthy is the better going forward, however he can be lazy on the defensive front and that is why Henderson will have the slight edge as we know the troubles of the two sides at the minute.

If this fixture was at Everton, and Seamus Coleman was fit, I'd definitely fancy a home win.

However, with the game at Anfield, I think Liverpool will shade it. They will have the roar of the Kop behind them, along with the returning Sturridge.


Liverpool 3-2 Everton


Liverpool - Mignolet; Manquillo, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Henderson, Lallana; Markovic, Sterling, Balotelli

Everton - Howard; Stones, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Mirallas, McCarthy, Barry, McGeedy; Eto'o, Lukaku

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