Everton vs. Liverpool: Why Suso and Wisdom Are Key to the Reds Chances
The city awaits with eager anticipation as these two old foes go at it for the first time under Brendan Rodgers' Anfield tenure.
To the punter's eye, Liverpool's youthful right side is the certifiable weak link in the side, but will it be as simple as exploiting that for David Moyes' men?
The Teams Match Up Well Everywhere Else
As Liverpool have fallen over the past three or four years, Everton have been steadily rising.
The teams now appear pretty well matched for the first time in decades, although that doesn't translate into derby results for the Toffees too often.
The Blues' central midfield is slow on its heels, but they don't have blistering pace to deal with here—the Brendan Rodgers way is not founded on furious speed of attack.
Both teams have in-form strikers and defenders. Nikica Jelavic, Luis Suarez, Phil Jagielka and Daniel Agger are all playing very well this season.
Where's the tipping point? The critical "weakness"?
That just leaves...
...the colossal battle of Everton's left side against Liverpool's right.
In the last three consecutive league fixtures, the Reds have fielded 18-year-old Suso on the right wing and 19-year-old Andre Wisdom at right-back.
Wisdom first came into the team against Young Boys in September, and his goalscoring efforts won him the chance to stamp his authority over the full-back position, despite being a centre-back by trade, at the expense of the injured Jose Enrique.
Suso came in for the Norwich game, performing well enough to keep his place for subsequent games against Stoke and Reading.
Together, they form the youngest right-sided tandem in the English Premier League. At the weekend, they'll come up against...
...one of the fiercest left-sided pairs in the English Premier League.
It's tough to contain Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines. Manchester United found that out the hard way as their 4-4 draw with Everton pretty much lost them the title last season.
While Pienaar is suspended for the outcome, you can bet that Kevin Mirallas can fill in nicely on the left and wreak serious havoc.
Even though the obvious threat of Marouane Fellaini isn't playing or quite functioning at 100 percent, these two can cause teams nightmares.
Liverpool's fortunes in the Merseyside derby will be dictated and decided by how effectively Andre Wisdom and Suso can handle Kevin Miralles and Leighton Baines.
The Everton duo have already picked off inexperienced right-siders such as Matthew Lowton and Frazer Richardson, so will this young duo be next on the list?
It's difficult to argue that with sincerity. Despite their perceived weaknesses, Wisdom and Suso have seriously impressed so far.
Wisdom, in particular, has shocked many by playing so well whilst out of position. He's contributed heavily toward two consecutive clean sheets against Stoke and Reading, while also acquitting himself excellently against Norwich.
Anything can happen in a derby, and this battle is far from the formality most punters expect it to be.