Everton vs. Liverpool: 6 Predictions for Derby Day
I hate Derby Day.
For me, playing Liverpool is far too close to home.
I've grown up in the city and I will never forget the years of being mocked while walking through high school hallways after an Everton defeat.
But I will never forget that 3-0, the Lee Carsley goal and the pride that it brought my younger self, but I still hate Derby Day.
With the 216th playing of the Battle for Merseyside upon us, Everton and Liverpool are only separated by three points, with both sides having not played up to their potential this term.
While Mancunian battles just down the East Lancs Road seem far more pertinent these days, the Merseyside Derby is still a special fixture in English football.
Tim Cahill Scores
Having scored in the 2-0 Everton win in last year's home derby, Cahill is yet to score in the league this season.
With Everton having somewhat of a striking shortage this season—Louis Saha is the only established forward in the squad—Cahill should be employed in an advanced role by Moyes.
Cahill has been brilliant in a more advanced role in his Everton career and, with the quality of crosses that Everton have been able to supply over recent weeks, Cahill could cause havoc with the inconsistent Liverpool back line.
The foot injury that Cahill received in the defeat at Manchester City last weekend could worry Moyes enough to bench the Australian international, but when Cahill does see the pitch, expect a goal.
So Does Steven Gerrard
It's just too perfect a situation for Steven Gerrard not to score in this game.
Having faced almost a year out of the action following a groin injury, Gerrard has slowly worked back into fitness with cameo appearances against Brighton and Wolves.
While it would be a big shock if Kenny Dalglish gives Gerrard the nod in the starting lineup, don't be surprised if Gerrard comes off the bench and grabs a goal to announce his return to football in style.
Andy Carroll Plays a Blinder
Everton fans have always compared Andy Carroll to a much more expensive version of the Blues legend, Duncan Ferguson.
While Carrol's early career at Liverpool following his £35 million move from Newcastle has failed to live up to the price tag, I expect Carroll to start and play well in his first Merseyside Derby.
Carroll's brilliant aerial ability and his growing confidence will help bolster Liverpool's front line, and with Luis Suarez getting most of the Everton defensive attention, Carroll could be in line for a big game.
The Merseyside Derby is the worst disciplined matchup in Premier League history, so expect at least one sending off.
While the Blue and Red sides of our fair city see the game played for bragging rights and, leave pre- or post-game violence out of the question, players on the pitch love to get stuck in this explosive fixture.
Martin Atkinson has the unenviable task of refereeing this weekend and in his last appearance as the man in black on Derby Day, he handed out six yellows and sent a player off from each side.
Expect rash challenges, a burst of bookings and an atmosphere at its boiling point.
This is football after all.
Louis Saha Starts
Everton have a striking shortage and David Moyes has been in the line of fire when it comes to his negative tactics over this term.
Louis Saha has struggled with his fitness (as always) this season, but came off the bench against Manchester City last weekend when Tim Cahill was injured.
Following a bust-up with Moyes after Saha refused to play for Everton's reserve side against Aston Villa two weeks ago, Saha took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
Not the smartest move.
Manager Moyes laid down the law with Saha, and I think now is the time Moyes tells Saha to prove a point on the biggest stage of the season.
I am by no means an impartial observer.
Honestly, I don't want to call it either way.
If I choose Everton, I'm a blinkered Toffee living in a dream. If I choose Liverpool, I betray my roots and am just another negative Evertonian. If I choose a draw, then, well, no one likes people that sit on the fence.
Let's just say I am living in hope and let's leave it at that.