One of the biggest fixtures this weekend sees Liverpool host Merseyside neighbours Everton. Both sides are going through difficult patches in their respective seasons.
However, the Merseyside derby presents a chance for both teams to put their poor form behind them and hit the reset button.
Historically, this fixture is one of the fiercest in the Premier League season. It’s no different this season, with both sides vying for a place in the top four, there’s bound to be plenty of action and anticipation at Anfield.
Liverpool lost 3-1 to Leicester last weekend, losing chase with the top four and suffering their third loss in a row for the first time since 2014. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side did recover to win 2-0 against RB Leipzig in mid-week. The Reds have lost five of their last nine in all competitions and have won just twice in their last ten Premier League games, and are winless at home in five Premier League matches, drawing two and losing three.
Everton lost consecutive league fixtures for the first time since early November this week, following back-to-back defeats to City and Fulham.
The Toffees now have one win in six Premier League games and they have lost three in this run. However, despite a recent slump, Carlo Ancelotti’s side have been in good away form, remaining unbeaten in their last seven on the road and winning four. Bookmarkers like betting24 rightly predict it’s probably going to be a close game, with Liverpool’s recent form dipping, however their most recent win against RB Leipzig during the week in the Champions League last round of 16 may prove to be the turning point in their form.
Key Players/ Injuries
Liverpool have found the net with more regularity in recent weeks. Mo Salah remains Liverpool’s key man. The Egyptian striker is the top scorer in the Premier League with 17 goals and scored seven in his last seven games in all competitions.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have also shown glimpses of a return to form. Mane scored in the 2-0 win over Leipzig and put in a man of the match performance, while Firmino has provided four assists in his last seven, making him Liverpool’s joint-top assist provider for the season with five.
If he’s fit to start, Dominic Calvert Lewin poses Everton’s main goal threat, with 13 goals in 20 appearances this season. James Rodriguez is another potential threat for the Toffees and the Colombian has scored two and assisted two in his last five.
Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has returned to Everton’s starting line up in recent weeks and provided three assists and a goal in Everton’s 5-4 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup last week.
Liverpool are still without Diogo Jota (knee), Joel Matip (ankle), Joe Gomez (knee), Virgil van Dijk (knee), James Milner (thigh) and Fabinho (muscular injury). But, Naby Keita could return.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin should return for Everton following a thigh injury but Yerry Mina is doubtful after picking up a knock against City.
Head to Head
Although they are not in the best of form in the Premier League, Liverpool has an excellent recent record against their city rivals. Everton have not beaten Liverpool since October 2010 – a run stretching back over 23 games.
However, there have been a lot of draws between Liverpool and Everton in recent years. Out of the last seven Premier League matches between the sides, five have ended in a draw.
The stakes will be high in this fixture. Both teams will be aware that a win could provide a massive confidence boost for the remainder of the season.
Although Liverpool have lost the last three consecutive home games, it’s unlikely they will lose four in a row. But, despite their long-standing run without a win over Liverpool, Everton will be hard to beat and a score draw could be likely at Anfield.