Everton vs. Liverpool Merseyside derby preview

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.

Form

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.

Teams

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.

Stats

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.

Clean

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.

Typical

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?

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Roberto Carlos reveals Anzhi interested in Gerrard, Lampard; Chelsea ponder January move for Sami Khedira

Roberto Carlos reveals Anzhi interested in Gerrard, Lampard

Anzhi player-coach Roberto Carlos has revealed that the Russian club are pondering moves for Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

The 38-year-old defender has just been appointed a temporary manager after coach Gadzhi Gadzhiev was sacked, and he already spoke with club chiefs about the possible transfer targets.

Club owner Suleyman Kerimov is eager to lure Fabio Capello to Makhachkala, and Roberto Carlos confirms Anzhi are already making plans for next season.

“I am having dinner with the president tonight and we’ll speak about signings and coaches for next season,” Carlos was quoted as saying in Daily Mail.

The Brazilian then revealed the club were weighing up moves for Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

“We will talk about names like Lampard, Gerrard and Pires.

“In terms of coaches, there are several names, such as Capello, Hiddink, Luxemburgo and Scolari.”

Chelsea ponder January move for Sami Khedira

Chelsea have shown interest in Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, The Mirror reports.

Andre Villas-Boas is not satisfied with his midfield options and he believes Khedira would add a new quality to Blues midfield.

The Germany international has failed to impress at Santiago Bernabeu and has recently been blamed by Jose Mourinho for the defeat to Levante.

With Nuri Sahin recovering from injury and Lassana Diarra slowly returning to the side, Mourinho could decide to cash in on Khedira in January.

Chelsea believe Khedira would be a perfect replacement for Michael Essien, whose career at Stamford Bridge has been riddled with injuries, with the Blues reportedly ready to offer £20 million for the 24-year-old.

They could, however, face stiff competition from Bayern Munich and Milan, who are also keen.

The only problem is that Khedira wouldn’t be able to help Chelsea in the Champions League, having already featured for Real in the competition.

Zarate hints at Inter stay

Argentine striker Mauro Zarate has voiced his desire to stay at Giuseppe Meazza after his loan deal ends.

The 24-year-old joined Inter from Lazio on season-long loan on transfer deadline day and has had a mixed success at the start of his career at Meazza.

Seeing that his career at Lazio was plagued with controversy, it is little wonder that the player wants to remain at Inter.

“Will I stay at Inter next summer? Of course I’d like to stay here,” Zarate told Inter Channel.

“That’s what I want and what I really hope I do.

“I’m very happy in Milan, I really like it here. Rome is a beautiful city but it’s more chaotic. Milan is calmer, I like it.”

Zarate was an unused substitute in Claudio Ranieri’s first game in charge, whereas he scored against CSKA Moscow after coming off the bench.

The Argentine is highly unlikely to be considered a first team regular with Milito, Forlan and Pazzini all vying for places in attack, but he seems to be happy with being an impact player.

For more news about football transfers and rumours, visit our Transfer News section. To view all football transfers for 2010/11 season, visit our Soccer Transfers section.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Arsenal owner defends under-fire Wenger

Arsene Wenger has been given the full support of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke after a rocky start to the Premier League campaign.

After managing just two wins from six games, the Gunners have made one of their poorest starts to the season, leading to many questioning the French boss’ future

However, Kroenke has insisted that he still has complete faith in the manager, writing off claims from critics that he should leave the Emirates.

“I have tremendous confidence in Arsene,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“He is one of the great managers in the world. Arsene is one of my favourite people I have met in the last 20 years. He is a great person and I love the way he handles himself. He is a very intelligent guy.”

Arsenal’s start to the season followed captain Cesc Fabregas leaving for Barcelona, while midfielder Samir Nasri soon joined Manchester City, moves that heaped the pressure on Wenger even more.

But Kroenke maintains that while the sale of some of his side’s top players was not ideal, it was inevitable that they would go through at some point and it will allow young players to step up.

“It’s a rocky start but what do people really expect? Cesc Fabregas is a great player who Arsene developed from the age of 16. He decided last year that he wanted to leave,” he continued.

“Maybe it is one of those times when we have to work our way through, maybe with some young players. Arsene has been really good at developing these guys, people like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. There are some really good players that Arsene thinks can be special. Arsene’s our man.”

When asked whether or not he had any influence over the sale of Fabregas, the American insisted that the decision was between manager and player, adding: “I like the kid but I’m not going to change his mind. Arsene made the decision.”

“I also get it on Samir Nasri. If we didn’t do something on Nasri people would be looking at us next summer and saying, ‘Why didn’t you do this?’ We bought in a lot of resources that we can use on other players.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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CONCACAF Champions League: Alajuelense 1 Motagua 0

Costa Rican club Alajuelense went top of their CONCACAF Champions League group after a crucial 1-0 win over Motagua on Thursday.

Level on points with both Morelia and LA Galaxy heading into the clash, Alajuelense had an ideal chance to take hold of Group A, which they did courtesy of Jonathan McDonald’s 27th-minute strike.

It was the third Champions League game that McDonald has scored in this campaign, adding to his goal against Motagua in their 4-2 away earlier this month, and his lone strike in their 1-0 win over Morelia in August.

Alajuelense move top on 12 points with one game remaining, but they are yet to sew up their spot in the knockout stages.

The final round of group fixtures sees Morelia play Alajuelense, while the LA Galaxy face group minnows Motagua.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Copa Sudamericana wrap: Visitors take upper hand

Thursday’s three Copa Sudamericana fixtures saw each of the away sides take a first-leg advantage, including Arsenal and Santa Fe.

Argentine outfit Arsenal played out a 0-0 draw with hosts Olimpia in their leg in Asuncion, Paraguay, taking the slight advantage into their home second leg of their round-of-16 tie.

Arsenal will host the deciding leg on October 19 at the Estadio Julio H. Grondona.

Santa Fe took the upper hand in their clash away at Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro, scoring a crucial away goal in their 1-1 draw.

Omar Perez fired Santa Fe ahead in the eighth minute, before Botafogo’s Caio equalised on 66 minutes.

Universitario also snared a valuable goal away from home in their 1-1 draw with Godoy Cruz in Argentina.

The Peruvian outfit took a late lead in Mendoza, when Manuel Ruidiaz found the back of the net, but Gonzalo Cabrera equalised in the 89th minute for Godoy.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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MLS: Philadelphia Union 3 DC United 2

The Philadelphia Union earned a hard-fought 3-2 home win over rivals DC United at PPL Park in their MLS clash on Thursday.

Sebastien Le Toux scored two goals inside the first 15 minutes, and Michael Farfan won it for Union in the second half.

Dwayne De Rosario and Andy Najar had earlier brought the visitors back to parity with goals in the opening half-hour, before Farfan’s 57th-minute effort split the teams.

Le Toux’s first strike came on a breakaway after a long ball was misplayed by United defender Ethan White, and the second featured an angled ball from Farfan, which the Frenchman chested down and finished from close range.

The brace meant Le Toux has nine goals from his past eight matches. He had only one goal from 22 matches prior to his hot streak.

De Rosario netted his 14th goal on the season with a header off a corner kick. The goal was his fifth in three matches.

Najar then scored moments after De Rosario to equalise at 2-2.

Following the half-time break, Philadelphia came out just like they had in the first half. This time, Farfan provided the quick goal, finishing with a left-footed shot from the top of the area.

With the victory, Philadelphia move ahead of both Houston and Columbus into second place in the Eastern Conference with 43 points, just one point behind leaders Sporting Kansas City.

They will travel to Los Angeles to take on Chivas USA on Sunday.

DC United remain just one spot and one point behind New York for the final playoff place, ahead of their trip to Columbus Crew on Sunday.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Johnson draws Jol praise

Fulham manager Martin Jol heaped praise on Andy Johnson after the striker netted twice in their 2-0 Europa League win over Odense.

The Cottagers remained unbeaten in Group K as Johnson fired a goal in each half in Denmark.

Dutchman Jol revealed afterwards that the club had offered the former England international a two-year extension on his contract.

“I want Andy to be with us and stay here. We have spoken a couple of times in the last couple of weeks,” Jol said.

“He is top scorer in Europe if you count qualification matches too. He was a handful tonight.”

“He hasn’t done it in the league but sometimes you have to give him the opportunities too.”

“We have offered him another two years so there is a lot of confidence in him. Sometimes it’s better to start talking in December or January.”

Johnson, who took his goal tally for the season to nine, is set to get more game time at Craven Cottage, Jol said.

“I’m 100 per cent certain that if I start Andy he won’t let anyone down,” Jol said.

“He is a true professional, he always plays with his heart and you can’t say that of all the pros in football.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Pulis thrilled with Stoke response

Stoke boss Tony Pulis praised his side for bouncing back from a slow start in the Europa League with a 2-1 win over Besiktas on Thursday.

The Potters conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 at Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev in their Group E opener, but fought back from a deficit against Turkish side Besiktas to record a valuable win at Britannia Stadium on Thursday.

Pulis said backing up well from a tough Premier League clash against Manchester United last weekend was also pleasing.

“We are delighted. We played Manchester United on Saturday (1-1 home draw) and had to do a lot of work against them as they are great side,” Pulis said.

“Besiktas too are a very good side and have far more European experience than us and I am absolutely delighted.”

“Everybody seemed proud to play and everybody was up for it tonight.”

Stoke are participating in European competition for the first time since 1975, and Pulis believes the club is deserving of its place in the competition.

“Stoke always deserved a place in Europe. This is new to them and they are looking forward to it. We have to make the best of these opportunities,” Pulis said.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Premier League preview: Tottenham v Arsenal

Tottenham will take an unusual feeling into their north London derby on Sunday, entering the clash with Arsenal as warm favourites.

Spurs will fancy their chances at White Hart Lane against a weakened and inconsistent Arsenal side still reeling from the loss of players such as Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy.

Both sides were victorious in midweek European fixtures, yet failed to put on convincing displays.

Arsenal beat Olympiakos 2-1 in the Champions League, while Spurs fought back from a goal down to beat Shamrock Rovers 3-1 in Europa League action.

The most recent clashes between the fierce rivals have produced plenty of goals, with 11 scored in last season’s two meetings.

Spurs produced a memorable fightback to beat Arsenal 3-2 at the Emirates, before they again came from two goals down to earn a 3-3 draw at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal’s last league victory over their local rivals was a 3-0 triumph in October 2009 – Spurs’ only loss in their past six league derbies with the Gunners.

In selection news, injuries have rocked the Arsenal squad, with Gervinho, Johan Djourou, Theo Walcott, Yossi Benayoun, Thomas Vermaelen, Sebastien Squillaci and Jack Wilshere all sidelined.

Spurs also have concerns, with injuries to William Gallas, Niko Kranjcar, Tom Huddlestone and Michael Dawson.

Aaron Lennon returned from a groin injury in their win over Rovers in midweek, and is likely to be in the squad at the weekend.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Europa relief for Redknapp

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp says he feared defeat when his side went behind to Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League on Thursday.

Stephen Rice opened the scoring for the Irish side early in the second half, stunning the hosts at White Hart Lane.

But quick-fire goals to Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermaine Defoe and Giovanni dos Santos saw the London side triumph 3-1 in their Group A encounter.

Redknapp said Rovers’ goal made him feel a boilover was on the cards, before his side produced a calculating response to the early setback.

“When we went one down you’re concerned because you think maybe it’s going to be one of those nights,” Redknapp said.

“We came in at half-time 0-0 and not being disrespectful to Shamrock Rovers, they were excellent, worked their socks off and they played OK, they made it difficult for us.”

“But we could have been a few goals up at half-time. We’ve hit the woodwork, the ‘keeper is making saves.”

“But I was pleased how we played first half, I’ve got no problems. The tempo was good, we go after them and played some nice stuff around the box.”

“I thought it was a matter of time before we scored but then they went and scored with their first real strike at goal. Then you think maybe it’s one of those nights. Then we go and stick a couple away and finish it.”

Redknapp was full of praise for Shamrock, endorsing their style of play, and he tipped them to pick up points in the group stage, given they are well led by manager Michael O’Neill and assistant Jim Magilton.

“They’ll get a result somewhere along the line. They had chances in the first game, we watched the video.”

“They’ve got the Greek side (PAOK) at home. They’re a great side, Michael has done a good job with them with Jim’s help,” Redknapp said.

“They’ve got great support, their support were magnificent tonight. They’ll get a result. We’ll look forward to the day we go over to play in Ireland. It’ll be a great atmosphere and great place to play.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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