Merseyside Derby Match Preview: Everton vs Liverpool
Date & time: October 17th, 2020 - 12:30
Where: Goodison Park
Is it on: BT Sport
Ref: Michael Oliver
What an excruciating wait that was. A two week international break actually felt like two months, partially because it was the Merseyside derby up next.
Liverpool have no option but to get a result at Goodison, whether that be a win or a draw. At this stage it isn't about keeping pace with Everton, it's about making a statement.
The result at Villa Park was abysmal but the performance was far worse. Too many senior players started to dial it in after the restart last season, and that atrocious form has continued so far this season.
Jurgen Klopp will shake it up a bit tomorrow, but only out of necessity, but we'll almost certainly see a few changes across the team.
Regardless of who plays though, the fact remains: whatever low percentage of effort that was put in two weeks ago needs to be multiplied about ten-fold, or Everton will punish us just as much as Villa.
The only thing that we can hope to do is put in a good performance, and hope the rest takes care of itself.
Everton are always well up for it but there's no doubting that our record over them for a decade is a real psychological burden for them. We have to make sure it stays that way.
Injuries & Suspension
Thiago, Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and Joel Matip will all return tomorrow, a slight bit of good fortune, after missing so many key players last time out.
The return of the captain perhaps being the most important, as the ship was clearly all over the shop last time out, without the man at the wheel giving out the orders and commands.
Alisson is out, and seemingly will be indefinitely, whilst Naby Keita joins Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the midfield injury room.
For Everton it still looks as if Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne will be out, but they will have a host of returning players including Andre Gomes, Allan and Seamus Coleman.
Last 5 games:
Everton (all comps): W-W-W-W-W
Liverpool (all comps): W-W-W-L-L
Predicted Line up
I honestly feel that Jurgen will be tempted to shore up his midfield after our last runout, particularly considering this is likely to be the hardest fought derby in many a year.
A midfield of Fabinho, Henderson and Milner/Wijnaldum is probably tempting, as is sticking with Joe Gomez at the back.
But Everton are unlikely to change too much of what has worked for them so far this season, so I'm genuinely hoping they try to go toe-to-toe with us and we'll see who's left standing at the end.
For that reason, I'm hoping - and tempted to believe - that Thiago gets the nod ahead of Gini, who was quite poor last time out.
Throwing the Spaniard in behind our front three would really give Ancelotti something to ponder; it's the sort of threat from midfield we rarely offer unless Naby Keita is in form, so it would be a nice change to see us grab a game like this by the throat from the first whistle.
Predicted starting XI: Adrian, Trent, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Mane, Salah and Firmino.
Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Milner, Gini, Jota, Minamino and Origi