On April 20th, Everton make the journey to Anfield to take on rivals Liverpool. The 226th edition of the Merseyside Derby will take place between two teams that have underachieved in the league, but have done well in other competitions. Everton are sitting 11th in the league with just 41 points from 33 games, but they’ll be at Wembley on Saturday for a semi final match up with Manchester United in the FA Cup. Liverpool are sitting 8th with 51 points from 32 games, but are into the semi finals of the Europa League. Both clubs have huge matches on the horizon, but the Merseyside Derby is always a huge occasion. They may other matches to contend with, but both sides will be giving it their all for a win here.
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Liverpool will be missing quite a few players through injury for the derby. Danny Ings and Joe Gomez have been out for a while and will continue to miss time as they rehab from their ACL injuries. Christian Beneteke and Jordan Henderson are both certain to miss out as they are both recovering from LCL injuries, while Emre Can is the latest injury casualty after he hurt his ankle and will be out for the rest of the season. Divock Origi and Kolo Toure both picked up knocks recently and both will have to prove that they are fit enough for the derby.
Everton are also missing quite a few players. Tony Hibbert and Tyias Browning are both out with long term injuries, while Phil Jagielka and Tom Cleverley both look to be just short of fitness for the derby and will be facing fights to be fit for the FA Cup semi final. Seamus Coleman’s status is unknown after he limped off against Southampton over the weekend, but he could miss out. Both Aaron Lennon and Leighton Baines will face late fitness tests to see if they will be fit.
Six of the last seven Merseyside Derbies have ended in draws, with the one other game being Liverpool’s 4-0 win in January 2014. Everton have not won any of the last 11 Merseyside Derbies, with their last win coming in October 2010. Everton have been poor at home, but they have lost only two games away from home this season, matched by only Leicester and Tottenham.
Liverpool: Roberto Firmino
After struggling in his first few months in England, Roberto Firmino is arguably Liverpool’s best player now. His nine league goals are more than any other player in the Liverpool team, and only James Milner has more league assists than his seven. The Brazilian has really taken to Jurgen Klopp well and is looking well worth the £29m they paid for him.
Everton: Romelu Lukaku
For all the disappointment in Everton’s season, the one huge bright spot has been Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker’s 17 non penalty league goals are behind only Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, and Sergio Aguero. After a few good seasons, Lukaku took the leap this year and has had a great season. If Everton are going to win the derby, they’ll need their big Belgian to show up with a big performance.
Liverpool should win this game, even with their injuries. Everton will have one eye on their FA Cup semi final over the weekend, and already have a few players out injured. On top of that, Liverpool are just the much better side.
Prediction: 3-1 Liverpool