Liverpool rivals head into the Merseyside derby in contrasting spirits and form, but with the same aim of coming out on top as winners. There is more than just bragging rights at stake here as both Jurgen Klopp and Roberto Martinez feel pressure to deliver and record a triumph in the crucial part of the season.
Last couple of months have been a proper rollercoaster ride for Liverpool fans and players alike. The arrival of Jurgen Klopp has been a huge boost to the club’s morale as the German manager introduced major changes to the style of play, but to the atmosphere within the team and around it as well. Reds have had their fair share of ups and downs, but Jurgen Klopp’s infectious optimism has kept the spirits high and Liverpool are enjoying their football at the moment. With only one defeat in their last ten matches across all competitions, Reds are coming off from the three-match winning run, including the 4-1 thrashing of Stoke City and that incredible 4-3 come-from-behind triumph over Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League. Reds have plenty to fight for in the next couple of weeks as there is European semi-finals against Villarreal in store, but Klopp remains adamant that his team needs to concentrate on the Premier League as well. Reds want to continue with the positive run and build upon the 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the weekend as Jurgen Klopp despite their slim chances of making significant progress up the Premier League ladder. Europa League remains Liverpool’s best chance of clinching European football for the next season as lifting the trophy would guarantee a Champions League place, but Merseyside derby is a special game that could provide additional push in the back in the crucial moment of the season and Liverpool want to win it for the fans.
Jurgen Klopp faces a selection challenge in the attack as Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge have demonstrated great form in the last couple of games.
Danny Ings, Joe Gomez, captain Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Christian Benteke are all ruled out with injuries, though.
Winless in their last six Premier League matches, Everton have put additional pressure upon their manager’s back as Roberto Martinez struggles to get his team back on track. The Toffees have had a great start to the ongoing season as they have demonstrated attractive, exciting and attack-oriented football. However, their poor defending outdone all the good work upfront and Everton now have ten defeats to their name, one more than the total number of wins this season. With just three points from their last five matches, Martinez’s men find themselves sitting in 11th place in the table, ten points behind their local rivals. Underperforming Everton are coming off from a 1-1 draw at Southampton and a game which saw Roberto Martinez make a number of changes to his starting line-up in order to give as many players the chance to impress ahead of the defining period of the season. One of the players who grabbed the chance with both hands was the academy graduate Callum Connoly, who replaces the injured Seamus Coleman in the second half, going on to put in a fine performance. Everton are due to play against Liverpool before locking horns with Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday and a good result against the Reds would be a huge morale boost for the Toffees, who are looking to save their campaign with a success in the Cup competition.
James McCarthy is coming back from his suspension, but Everton will travel to Anfield without Tony Hibbert and Tyias Browning who are both injured for the occasion.
Seamus Coleman injury is to be given a late assessment, while January signing from Locomotiv Moscow, Oumar Niasse, is still struggling with fitness.
Key Factors to consider
- Liverpool won four of their last 5 home matches
- Everton are winless in their last six Premier League fixtures
- Four of the last five Merseyside derbies ended in a draw
- Liverpool conceded at least a goal in 8 of their last 10 games in all competitions
- Everton have scored just two goals in their last five games
We are sure to be in for another highly interesting Merseyside derby at Anfield. Liverpool are in a good place right now and have to be considered firm favourites against the out-of-form Roberto Martinez’s men. A home win is on the cards here.
Verdict: Home win