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Premier League: Merseyside Derby Preview

England’s oldest top-flight derby is once again set to enthral fans as Liverpool head to Goodison Park to take on Everton in the Premier League. The Reds will be keen to climb up the Premier League table by making it three wins in a row after their defeat to West Ham United earlier this month, while the Toffees would like to come out of their terrible form which has seen them go winless for six matches in a row in the Premier League.

It is always a heated encounter when both the Liverpool-based clubs clash against each other. Liverpool have succumbed to a surprise 2-0 defeat at the hands of Everton last season, and their quest to avenge that defeat is likely to heat up the atmosphere even further. 

Here’s our preview of Wednesday’s Premier League fixture between arch-rivals Liverpool and Everton:

 

LIVERPOOL

The Reds are one of the title favourites this season, having regrouped from a disappointing campaign last year to firmly place themselves in the title hunt. Jurgen Klopp’s men are having a superb season so far – the loss to West Ham is the only sore point in their otherwise flawless performance on the field. They are just two points behind table leaders Chelsea, and the season is set to be a tight contest between Chelsea, Liverpool and defending champions Manchester City. As the three clubs race away at the top, leaving the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal behind, every point counts in the title hunt.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have once again delivered for Liverpool on Saturday night as the Reds secured a dominating 4-0 victory over Southampton. The trio of Salah, Mane and Diogo Jota have been flawless this season, and Everton’s defenders will have a difficult time containing the Reds’ attacks. Naby Keita could see a return to the field in the game against Southampton. Harvey Elliott has returned from a horror ankle injury, but his availability for the fixture remains to be seen. The absence of Robert Firmino is still concerning Jurgen Klopp, while Joe Gomez and Curtis Jones are yet to recover from their injuries and are ruled out of the fixture. Jurgen Klopp is expected to continue with the 4-3-3 lineup, with no major changes in the side expected from the fixture against Southampton.

 

EVERTON

Everton are in miserable form heading into the fixture, falling to 14th in the table with just 15 points from 13 fixtures. The Toffees have won just four fixtures so far, their last win being a 2-0 victory over Norwich City back in September. Since then, Rafael Benitez’s men have lost games against the likes of Watford and Brentford, quashing their hopes of climbing up the table. But it is not all dark and gloomy at Goodison Park, as Everton have shown grit and perseverance in holding back the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to a draw. A decent performance against their arch-rivals in front of thousands of cheering home fans might be just the push they need to come out of their poor form.

Injury troubles plague the Toffees as Yerry Mina, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tom Davies and Andre Gomes are likely unavailable due to injuries. Richarlison and Mason Holgate might make their way back to the starting lineup after serving their one-match suspensions. The return of Abdoulaye Doucoure is good news for Rafael Benitez, who is facing flak from fans after the team’s poor performance in recent weeks.

It will be a bitter encounter for Benitez, who faced backlash from Liverpool fans after he agreed to take up the job at Goodison Park earlier this season. Benitez managed Liverpool for six years between 2004 and 2010, and has many memorable moments with the Reds. With his job reportedly on the line, a victory against his former team might save Benitez from facing the sack.

 

HEAD TO HEAD

Of the 58 fixtures between the arch-rivals since the inception of the Premier League, the Reds have come out on top on most occasions. Liverpool have won 24 fixtures, while the Toffees have managed to win just 10. But Everton are no pushovers, as they have managed to hold back the traditionally strong Reds from running away with a victory in the remaining 24 fixtures. Across competitions, Liverpool have won 95 of the 238 games held between the sides, while the Toffees have come out on top 67 times.

In the history of the Premier League, no rivalry has witnessed more red cards per game than the Merseyside derby. A record 22 red cards show the intense physical contact that the game is host to, fuelled by the passion Liverpool fans show for their teams. Liverpool have not managed to defeat Everton in the last three Premier League games. The 2-0 surprise victory by the Toffees at Anfield last season has raised the bar for Liverpool to avenge their defeat. 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Despite their propensity to throw up surprises, Everton are a side in terrible form. Liverpool, on the other hand, are inching closer and closer towards being the table leaders. A brilliant attacking unit led by Mohamed Salah is their main strength. The Reds have scored 10 goals in their last three Premier League games and show no signs of stopping their goal-scoring streak. But Jurgen Klopp has already expressed fears that the encounter is likely to get physical, and will be keen to rotate players to avoid injuries. Everton’s three yellow cards in the game against Brentford should make them play with more caution, but the atmosphere at Goodison Park is unlikely to help calm the nerves. 

Expect Liverpool to come out with flying colours out of the Merseyside derby. 

Liverpool Predicted XI: Allison, Kostas Tsimikas, Virgil Van Dijk, Ibrahim Konate, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mané

Everton Predicted XI:  Jordan Pickford, Seamus Coleman, Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane, Lucas Digne, Anthony Gordon, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Allan, Alex Iwobi, Andros Townsend, Richarlison.

When: Thursday, 2nd December, 1:45 AM IST

Where: Goodison Park, Liverpool.

Where to Watch: All Premier League fixtures will be featured on Disney+ Hotstar. Select matches will be telecasted live on Star Sports and Star Sports Select Channels.

 

 

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