PREVIEW | Everton v Liverpool (Premier League)

PADRAIG O’CALLAGHAN looks ahead to what we can expect to see in Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park.

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The most important of least important things returns to our lives this Sunday as Liverpool make their way to Goodison Park to finally resume their quest for their 19th Premier League title.

It has been 106 days since their last Premier League outing, a nervy 2-1 win over Bournemouth saw them close to within nine points of the title. By the end of the weekend this was reduced to six as Manchester City lost their derby clash with United.


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Everton had gained some momentum after the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti, though later they failed to win in the last three games before lockdown. Their previous match saw them lose 4-0 to Chelsea. Due to such a large gap between the two games, it wouldn’t make sense to review previous form.

Team news

Everton have quite a few injury concerns. Midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Fabian Delph are all ruled out while André Gomes faces a late fitness test having just returned to training this week.

With Yerry Mina also expected to be unavailable, Carlo Ancelotti will have a limited squad to choose from.

Jordan Pickford will start in front of a likely back four of Djibril Sidibé, Mason Holgate, Michael Keane and Lucas Digne. Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurðsson will probably form a midfield partnership — the same one that shipped five goals in the reverse fixture.

Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott are in contention to play either side of said midfield while Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has scored a personal best 13 league goals in 2019/20, will start in attack.

Jürgen Klopp has stated that he has a full squad to choose from. However, Mo Salah and Andy Robertson missed the friendly against Blackburn and have missed a couple of training sessions so it wouldn’t be a great surprise if they missed out.

Alisson Becker will start in goal. The Brazilian is yet to concede against Everton and with a 60pc clean sheet ratio overall, you would expect him to continue his record here against a side that is usually quite wasteful in front of goal.

If Andy Robertson fails to get to the required fitness then James Milner will deputise in his place. The rest of the back line have no fitness issues so Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold should all start.

The familiar midfield three of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson is likely to take to the pitch from the off. Naby Keïta has impressed in recent training sessions and the friendly against Blackburn and would be unlucky to miss out, but Klopp trusts this trio in big games.

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Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané will start up front. Similarly to Robertson, Salah will need to prove his fitness to start the game otherwise Divock Origi will probably be the man to start in place of the Egyptian.

Prediction

Liverpool only need six points to be confirmed champions. With Man City playing Burnley on Monday, the Reds could be crowned Premier League winners if their closest competitors lose against the Clarets. A draw for the Citizens would see Liverpool only need a single point from the remaining eight if they get three points at Goodison.

Jürgen Klopp does not have a great record at the home of Liverpool’s city rivals. His only win came in his first season in charge of the club, while the two matches since then have ended 0-0.

But this time Everton will not have their support to rely upon to spur them through the game. Without fans home advantage will mean little — it’s all down to tactics and who wants it more on the night.

Liverpool should win, especially with a close to fully fit and rested squad. The quality of the match may not be at the standard we saw three months ago, but the Reds should still have enough to bring the three points back to Anfield.

Predicted final score: Everton 0-2 Liverpool


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