Everton vs. Liverpool: Preview of the Merseyside Derby

Everton-Liverpool

Photo: Courtesy of Liverpool FC official Facebook page

Liverpool will make the short trip to Goodison Park to face its city rival  Everton on Saturday in the Merseyside derby. After finishing behind Everton the last two seasons, this game will be a chance to for Liverpool, second on the table with 23 points, to regain the supremacy in the city of Liverpool.

Everton are going into the Merseyside derby having lost only once in eleven Premier League games this season. Roberto Martinez‘s men are in sixth place, just three points behind their city rivals and a win on Saturday would ensure them at least a place in the top five. Liverpool, with a win, would be sure to keep their second place and could even go to the top of the table should Arsenal lose to Southampton

Martinez will probably start with a 4-2-3-1 as he has for every game this season. American goalkeeper Tim Howard, who started all eleven Premier League games this season, will start again.  In front of him, Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka will be in central defense flanked by Leighton Baines (left back) and Seamus Coleman (right back).

No change should occur in central midfield, which means Gareth Barry and James McCarthy should both be handed the start tomorrow. Steven Pienaar (left midfielder), Kevin Mirallas (right midfielder) and Leon Osman (attacking central midfielder) will be in support of striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian wonderkid has already scored five times in seven games for the Toffees this season.

Assuming that Brandon Rodgers sticks with the 4-4-2 he used against Fulham, the Liverpool manager will have to make some tough choices. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel started against Fulham, but Mamadou Sakho was excellent for France on Tuesday against Ukraine and it’s difficult to imagine the former PSG player not starting tomorrow. Kolo Toure is also a reliable  option in central defense.  Rodgers could, however, move Sakho to left back, keeping Agger with Skrtel in central defense. That option would take Aly Cissokho, a natural left-back, out of the starting XI.

In midfield, Rodgers has already got his four men and it is unlikely to see a change tomorrow. Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard will be in central midfield while Philippe Coutinho (left) and Jordan Henderson (right) will be on the wings. Upfront, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, joint top scorers of the Premier League with eight goals each, will lead  Liverpool’s attack.

Prediction: Everton 2-2 Liverpool

Both teams are in good form and we should see a good game tomorrow.  Liverpool are in a better form, but Everton hasn’t lost a home game this season and the Toffees surely don’t want to lose the game that means the most for their fans.

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