What better way to start your weekend than with the Merseyside derby?
Liverpool come into this match second on the table, a brilliant start to the campaign after fending off Luis Suarez rumors and suitors for the entire summer. Everton have gotten off to a quicker start than was usual in the David Moyes years, currently sixth on the table with 20 points.
Both of these teams feature dynamic forwards, star veterans and plenty of talent up and down the pitch. This year's first leg of the derby should be excellent, indeed—let's break it down.
When: Saturday, November 23 at 7:45 a.m. ET (12:45 p.m. GMT)
Where: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
Watch: NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra; BT Sport 1 (U.K.);
Odds: Everton (37.7 percent), Liverpool (35.1 percent) and draw (27.2 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have become arguably the Premier League's most dangerous attacking duo, combining for 16 goals and three assists. Add in crafty midfielder Philippe Coutinho and legend Steven Gerrard, and the Reds have one of the truly explosive attacks in the Premier League.
But Everton counter with the extremely talented Romelu Lukaku, who has scored five goals in seven appearances this season. Add in dangerous fullbacks in Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman and the stabilizing force of Gareth Barry in the midfield, and Everton can match Liverpool blow for blow.
This would be an excellent matchup if it weren't a traditional rivalry, but as Everton manager Roberto Martinez noted, the Merseyside derby is truly one of the special rivalries in all of football.
From Mike Whalley of ESPN:
There are many local clashes in which you can see real passion, but I don’t think anything has been anywhere near what I’m expecting on Saturday.
I’ve heard many stories, especially from the kit room, about the history of the club, and I know that the Merseyside derby is quite unique and quite special. I don’t think it should be compared to any other in world football.
It comes from that feeling of having the red and the blue spread out in the city, and through families and the workplace. It’s a quite unique football fixture because of the meaning it brings with it. I think this one is extra significant. It’s between two teams who are in the top six and are so close to each other.
When you add all the connotations of the derby to the importance of the points, I think this fixture is going to be as big and as good as a football game can be.
It doesn't get any better than that.
Everton don't score as often as Liverpool (21 to 14 goals), but they also are pretty stingy in defense, as each team has allowed just 10 tallies. Despite all of the attacking talent featured in this clash, space and opportunities on net should be hard to come by.
Still, it's hard to see Everton being shut out at home and Liverpool being shut out in general. In an exciting, passionate matchup between rivals, expect this one to finish in a 1-1 draw.