Liverpool vs Everton: Preview, team news and prediction

When: Saturday, 7 April, 12:00 BST
Where: Goodison Park, Liverpool

Background

Gameweek 33 features Derby Saturday, kicking off with Everton vs Liverpool. This is the first game of the day, with the last one being the Manchester derby, which could be a potential title-decider.

Liverpool come into this one on the back of a massive 3-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final first leg in midweek. There is an air of infectious optimism around Anfield right now, and The Reds will approach the game on Saturday with real purpose. Jurgen Klopp’s men are currently 3rd in the table, and are still looking to push for 2nd. They are only two points behind Man United, despite having played a game more. With The Red Devils going to City later on the same day, this is a real chance for Liverpool to close the gap.

Everton, on the other hand, have been struggling this season. Their home form has largely been good, but they’ve lost their games at Goodison Park against Spurs, United, City and Arsenal thus far. They are no longer in danger of relegation, having been dangerously close to the bottom three when Ronald Koeman was in charge until November. Sam Allardyce has steadied the ship, but the fans are still not very happy with the style of football, and The Toffees’ dismal away form.

His next defeat would be Allardyce’s 200th in the Premier League. On the other side, Mohamed Salah will look to add to his tally of 29 Premier League goals this season. He is now only 3 away from holding the record for the most goals ever in a 38-game season.

This promises to be a feisty encounter. No other fixture in Premier League history has seen more red cards than the Merseyside derby, which has witnessed 21 dismissals. All the supporters, the two managers and the two sets of players are always on the edge, and it doesn’t take much for a scuffle to break out.

In the reverse fixture earlier this season, a contentious Wayne Rooney penalty 15 minutes from time earned Everton a point at Anfield, after Mohamed Salah had given the hosts the lead.

Team news

Everton

Midfielder Idrissa Gueye missed out on last week’s defeat against Man City with a muscle tear sustained while on international duty. He is a big doubt for this one too. Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen reckons that not only does the Senegalese international need to play, but he will also be vital to Everton standing a chance in this one.

Defender Ashley Williams returns from suspension, while Gylfi Sigurdsson, Eliaquim Mangala, James McCarthy and Mason Holgate are all out.

Liverpool

The Reds will be sweating on the fitness of their superstar Mo Salah, who was brought off in the 52nd minute against City in midweek with a groin problem. Even though he should be back, Klopp will have to choose whether to risk him in this game, or save him for the second leg in Manchester on Tuesday.

Emre Can is out with a back problem, while Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana and Ragnar Klavan are long-term absentees.

Potential line-ups

Everton

Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Williams, Baines; Rooney, Schneiderlin; Walcott, Calvert-Lewin, Bolasie; Tosun.

Liverpool

Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Man to watch out for

Cenk Tosun (Everton): The Turkish international is settling down in the Premier League, and has scored 4 goals in his last 4 games. He will need to be on top of his game to give Everton that firepower up front. We know Liverpool are going to score goals, and the home side will need to reply in kind.

Prediction

Finishing 2nd in the Premier League is still a priority for Liverpool, while Everton’s season is all but over. There is a lot of pride at stake in this one though, and it promises to be an enticing match. Even though The Reds could be without Salah, they are really riding high on confidence at the moment and should have too much quality up front for the home side to deal with.

Everton 1-3 Liverpool