The Merseyside Derby is one of the most anticipated fixtures of the Premier League calendar and this weekend promises to be an entertaining one for the neutrals. Liverpool managed to win the meeting between the two earlier this season, but Everton are in great form and will pose a serious threat to their local rivals. Although the hosts are the frontrunners to clinch the final Champions League place this season, their local rivals have an outside chance of a top-four finish and must win at Anfield on Saturday to keep those hopes alive. The match at Goodison Park wasn’t the best watch, but given there has been a two-week international break, the players should be refreshed and raring to go for this one.
The above graphic from Kick Off shows that Liverpool are coming into this weekend with some confidence after their struggles at the beginning of 2017. They have taken seven points from their last three matches, consolidating their position in the top four. The Champions League is now well within their grasp. However, they can’t afford many more slip-ups as both Manchester United and Arsenal have matches in hand on the Reds. Before the international break, they nearly came out with the three points against Manchester City. They had a great chance to win it late on through Adam Lallana that he would normally have taken. That said, a draw was probably fair based on the game.
Everton have been in great form that has seen them move into Champions League contention. It is likely to be too big of an ask for them to secure a top four finish, but there is a small chance and they will certainly believe that it is a possibility within Goodison Park. They have the league’s top scorer in Romelu Lukaku and their attack will be a major threat on Saturday. The Toffees have scored 17 goals in their last six matches and considering Liverpool haven’t kept a clean sheet in their last four matches, it is difficult not to see the visitors finding the back of the net this weekend.
This graphic from Kick Off highlights Liverpool’s dominance in the fixture. They have won three of the last four meetings, scoring more goals, having the greater share of possession and accruing significantly fewer cards. Despite the Reds having the better of the fixture, their local rivals are making real progress under Ronald Koeman and there is reason to believe that they are going to fare better over the coming years.
- Liverpool’s longest current unbeaten streak against a Premier League team is their 12-matches without defeat against Everton.
- Everton have only lost once in the Premier League during this calendar year, while Liverpool have lost three times since the turn of the year.
The Senegalese international has been a great signing for Liverpool this season, fitting into Jurgen Klopp’s style seamlessly. He has provided some much needed pace and dynamism to the Reds’ attack. Now he is arguably one of the team’s most important players and he will be key this weekend. Mane has contributed 12 goals and five assists this season. This is set to be his best season in the Premier League since arriving in England and that underlines how he suits Liverpool’s system. It is now clear that Klopp targeted him for a specific reason and he is only going to get better over time. His major weapon is his pace and he will look to get in behind the Everton defence this weekend. He scored the winner during the last meeting between the two clubs and Liverpool will need him to play well on Saturday to give them the best chance of getting the three points.
The 23-year-old is the front-runner to finish the season as the league’s top scorer and he will be full of confidence as he has been on a great run in front of goal. He has scored 11 goals in the Premier League since the turn of the year and managed to maintain his momentum with a goal for Belgium during the international break. Although he is expected to leave in the summer, he will be keen to score in what is likely to be his last Merseyside derby. He hasn’t been on the winning side in this fixture since joining Everton and that is a record that he will want to correct. Liverpool’s defence isn’t the most reliable and their centre-backs could be bullied by the Belgian, if the striker plays well. The visitors will need their talisman to take any chances that come his way if they are to break their derby hoodoo.
Adam Lallana is definitely going to be missing with a thigh problem. Jordan Henderson is a doubt, while Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are all in contention.
Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman will not play for the club again this season after picking up injuries while on international duty. Morgan Schneiderlin will also be unavailable through injury.
This could be Everton’s best chance of a victory at Anfield in recent years. They have a very good manager in Ronald Koeman and his team are playing the best football that they have managed this season. The Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku partnership is at its most threatening at the moment and it is difficult not to see the visitors scoring on Saturday. That said, Liverpool have been excellent in big matches under Jurgen Klopp and their record in this fixture should give them a lot of confidence. It will be a great way to kick off the Premier League action this weekend, but I can’t see a clear winner. This one could end in a draw.