Liverpool vs. Everton: Complete Premier League Preview, Stats Comparison
The battle for supremacy on Merseyside often used to coincide with finding out just who was the best team in the whole country, but since the advent of the Premier League, things have been different.
That still hasn’t really got them anywhere other than staring up at the division’s big boys, though, and as they enter this latest Merseyside derby, they’ll be wary of being caught by a seemingly resurgent Liverpool side.
The Reds were rampant in beating Newcastle United 6-0 last weekend, and seeing as they haven’t lost to Everton at home this century they’ll enter with confidence.
However, Everton know that a win would ensure a second successive season of finishing above their rivals, and there would be no better place to do that than in front of a packed Anfield crowd.
Quite simply, this one means more than just local pride.
Why It’s Important for Liverpool
Gareth Copley/Getty Images
So often this season a good Liverpool performance has then been met with an almost immediate bump in the road, and Brendan Rodgers will be desperate for his side to avoid that here.
Upon entering Newcastle last Saturday, all of the talk was about the absence of the banned Luis Suarez, but by the time the Reds left the only topic on people’s minds was just what a good display they’d put in.
Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson all sparkled in the win along with plenty of other teammates, and reproducing the same quality in a big derby game would surely fill the players with pride.
For the fans, finishing above Everton matters too.
Why It’s Important for Everton
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Results over the past few weeks have now made it pretty much impossible for Everton to reach the top four, whilst with only fifth place in the league this season securing a Europa League place, the Blues look like missing out on European football altogether.
For a club who set out their stall so quickly and impressively this season that will hurt, but redemption may be found with a first Merseyside derby win at the home of their old rivals since 1999.
Plenty of Everton players have tried and failed to win in the past 14 years, and with David Moyes being at the helm for 11 of those there will be no one more determined than the Scot to finally taste Anfield glory.
Arguably Everton haven’t had a better chance of winning at their old rivals in those 14 years due to their position above Liverpool in the table and the lack of Suarez, but they’ll have to avoid freezing on the big occasion like they have so many times before.
Key Battle: Philippe Coutinho/Jordan Henderson vs. Seamus Coleman
Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Coutinho played in a central role off Sturridge in the Newcastle win, but he was still to be seen drifting out to his favoured left-hand side on occasion.
It was Henderson who did the most damage from there, though, scoring twice and teeing one up for Sturridge, and so it will be interesting to see how he links up with his Brazilian teammate here.
Most are aware of Seamus Coleman's quality coming forward for Everton, but he has clearly worked on his defensive game this season and with good results.
Liverpool may still look to target his side, though, especially given that it will house two of their most in-form players.
If they can get the better of Coleman, Reds fans could be smiling.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
As ever, Suarez was a key element in the last meeting between these two sides in October.
The 219th derby sprang into life as Liverpool went 2-0 up thanks to a Suarez shot that cannoned in off Leighton Baines before the Uruguayan grabbed his second with a header from a Steven Gerrard free-kick.
The Blues were level before half-time, though, with both Leon Osman and Steven Naismith finding a way past Reds goalkeeper Brad Jones.
Following that madcap first half things calmed down in the second, until a stoppage-time header from Sebastian Coates was turned home by Suarez for what looked to be the winner.
Suarez was then flagged offside despite appearing to be level, with a pulsating game ending 2-2.
Team News and Expected Lineups
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Liverpool are almost certain to remain unchanged following that emphatic win at Newcastle, although Fabio Borini is pushing to start following his late goal at St James's Park. Suarez sits out game two of his 10-match ban, while Coutinho and Sturridge will make Merseyside derby debuts.
Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge.
The off-form Nikica Jelavic will be sweating over his first-team place given that David Moyes often reverts to playing a lone forward away from home, with Victor Anichebe the favourite for the spot. Darron Gibson could come into the side as an extra midfielder if he proves his fitness, with the remainder of the side the same as the one that beat Fulham 1-0 last weekend.
Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines, Leon Osman, Darron Gibson, Marouane Fellaini, Steven Pienaar, Kevin Mirallas, Victor Anichebe.
What the Stats Say
Gareth Copley/Getty Images
With just 21 strikes in their 17 away games, Everton possess the joint-worst away goalscoring record in the top eight of the table, scoring just one more goal than relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
However, there are only three teams in the Premier League who have conceded less on the road than the Blues, something they'll have to rely upon given that they have only beaten Liverpool in 90 minutes in one of the last 15 meetings in all competitions.
Everton have won just one of their last eight away games and haven't won at Liverpool this century, with their hopes here likely to centre on midfielder Marouane Fellaini given his five goals in 14 away games this season.
Following his impressive display at Newcastle last weekend, Philippe Coutinho has now either scored or assisted seven goals in his nine Liverpool starts, whilst Daniel Sturridge has been involved in 12 strikes in his 11 Liverpool appearances in the Premier League.