PREMIER LEAGUE

Merseyside derby: Everton vs Liverpool preview

All the latest news and information ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside Derby with Everton looking to secure a Premier League win over Liverpool for the first time in a decade.

Merseyside derby: Everton vs Liverpool preview
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Everton Predicted XI vs Liverpool

Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne; Bernard, Gomes, Davies, Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Liverpool Predicted XI vs Everton

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Everton vs Liverpool Preview

After starting off well under new boss Carlo Ancelotti in Everton’s form tailed off in 2020 and they are currently 12th, below Burnley and Crystal Palace. The Italian picked up five wins from his first eight Premier League games at the club and appeared to be finally getting the best out of an underperforming squad. However an embarrassing FA Cup defeat to a second-string Liverpool team and conceding two stoppage time goals in a 2-2 draw against Newcastle showed they still have a long way to go.

Ancelotti’s greatest success has been the form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin who has scored eight goals in eleven Premier League matches since the Italian took over. His partnership with Richarlison looks like a fruitful one with the Brazilian’s speed and inventiveness creating chances. European qualification will probably be beyond the Toffees with nine games remaining so we may see more of Anthony Gordon, the 19-year-old forward tipped for big things.

After Manchester City’s comprehensive victory over Arsenal on Wednesday Liverpool will not be able to win the title at Goodison Park, but they will be desperate to pick up a victory after an uncharacteristic wobble pre-lockdown. The Reds have lost four of their last six games in all competitions but will be confident against a team who have not beaten them since 2010.

City’s 2017/18 Premier League record of 100 points is within reach for Liverpool and they will need to average exactly two points-per-game from their remaining nine fixtures to equal it. Also on the agenda for some in Red shirts will be the Premier League Golden Boot, with both Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane in the running after sharing last year’s award with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Jamie Vardy is currently the league’s top scorer with 19 goals, but Salah (16) and Mane (14) will hope to take advantage of their slightly easier run-in.

Everton vs Liverpool: Injuries and suspensions

Everton are one of few sides whose injury list has not improved during the three months without competitive fixtures and they are still without a number of key players. Jean-Philippe Gbamin, signed last summer as a £22.5million Idrissa Gueye replacement, suffered an Achilles injury in training and may miss the rest of 2020.

Theo Walcott recently underwent abdominal surgery and will likely miss most of the remaining matches, as will Morgan Schneiderlin following a knee operation. Yerry Mina suffered a minor thigh injury in training and will need a late fitness check to decide if he is fit to play.

The visitors will be able to name their first choice starting XI that has remained largely unchanged this season. Liverpool’s only absentees are Xherdan Shaqiri who is recovering from a calf injury and Nathaniel Clyne, both of whom are likely to leave the club this summer.

Everton vs Liverpool: What the managers said

Carlo Ancelotti (Everton): “This is an advantage for Liverpool, to play at Goodison Park without our supporters – and that is the same for any team going to play away. We are working to try to overcome this problem and to play a fantastic game.”

Jürgen Klopp (Liverpool): “We have to find challenges, win challenges, use gaps, find gaps and all that stuff. We have to play through, we have to be 100 per cent disciplined, we have to be full of joy, we have to stay greedy before the game, in the game [and] after the game. That’s all what we need”

Prediction: A Merseyside Derby played behind closed doors is going to be an unusual occasion but neither team will be short of motivation having not played in three months. For Everton it is a chance to regain some pride after the humiliating defeat in January, but Liverpool will want to show that the break has not stunted the momentum of their imperious Premier League campaign. Klopp will demand a quick start to get their season back on track and with a full team available his side should pick up a comfortable win. 0-3