Everton and Liverpool kick-off this weekends Premier League programme as the two rivals come head to head on Saturday lunchtime at Goodison Park. These games are always feisty affairs and tomorrow’s game is unlikely to be any different.
There’s an old adage about form going out the window in derbies. In the last year Liverpool’s away form has been really poor and Kenny Dalglish’s side have lost their last two away Premier League games.
On the other hand QPR were the first team to have beaten Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park since November. Liverpool do have history on their side in this fixture though having won eight out of the last 11 meetings at Goodison Park.
Both managers will have important decisions to make. Everton’s talisman Tim Cahill is currently struggling with a knock he picked up against Manchester City last weekend. If he doesn’t make the starting line-up French striker Louis Saha may earn a recall to the team.
If Cahill is fit or not Everton are likely to line-up with one man up front and a five man midfield. However Everton are likely to approach this game in a more attacking manner than they did their visit to Manchester City.
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish must decide whether to recall fit again captain Steven Gerrard. The midfielder has only made a few substitute appearances this season as he makes his way back to full match fitness. Dalglish may take the gamble of starting Gerrard because of his experience in these fixtures though.
Danish defender Daniel Agger has also returned to training after overcoming injury buts its unclear if he will be in the squad. One man who is likely to start is Dutchman Dirk Kuyt. Kuyt has became something of a derby day specialist and is likely to replace Jordan Henderson on the right side of midfield.
Tomorrows encounter will the 216th meeting between the two clubs in all competition. It is the most played fixture in the history of the English game.
Everton boss David Moyes will join the ranks of Harry Catterick and Bill Shankly in having managed in ten consecutive derby matches.
Tim Cahill’s importance to Everton couldn’t be underestimated as he’s Everton’s top league derby scorer since the great Dixie Dean. The Australian has scored five goals in league Merseyside derbies.
Liverpool are one goal away from scoring 50 under Kenny Dalglish since his return to the club. Dirk Kuyt is also on 49 Premier League goals for the Reds.
Everton have just edged the encounters at Goodison Park winning 34 games, to Liverpool’s 31 with 27 draws along the way. However Liverpool have a better overall record in the league winning 70 times, compared to Everton’s 57 with there being 57 draws also.
Liverpool have lost just three of the last 23 Premier League games against Everton. All three defeats however have came at Goodison and one of those was last season’s 2-0 reverse under Roy Hodgson.
Not a word that is used in talking about a Merseyside derby very often but I’m talking about clean sheets. Both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets this season. It will be very surprising if they do tomorrow. Both defences have looked vulnerable in recent times and theres likely to be goals in this encounter.
I’m afraid this game seems to have draw written all over it. I don’t think either side would say they head into this game with extreme confidence. Everton are coming into this game off the back of a 2-0 defeat at Manchester City but before that were having a decent run.
Liverpool head into this game on the back of an unconvincing 2-1 home win against Wolves at Anfield. And before that win the Reds had suffered two consecutive away league defeats.
This game is likely to be the typical rough and tumble derby game. It will probably start a hundred miles an hour and settle down on the half hour mark. I think if you asked either manager they would probably take a draw right now and be happy to share the point.
Who will come out on top on the Merseyside derby?