| Sunday, December 10th |
Premier League | Anfield
2:15PM GMT / 9:15AM EST
After thrashing Spartak Moscow 7-0 and securing their place at the top of their Champions League group, Liverpool are back at Anfield on Sunday to take on their Merseyside rivals, Everton. This fixture always brings the fireworks, and a combination of Liverpool’s firepower and Everton’s newly-acquired confidence likely ensures that this will be another entertaining match for the Merseyside derby history books.
Since getting dismantled by Spurs in October, Liverpool have yet to lose a game. They’ve scored a ridiculous 32 goals in the nine games that they’ve played since then in all competitions and conceded only six. Despite the unfortunate hiccups against Chelsea and Sevilla that saw them drop points, Everton are making the short trip to Anfield at maybe the worst possible time.
It’s possible, however, that the same could be said on the opposite side. New manager Sam Allardyce has begun the process of trying to right the sinking Toffee ship. Everton scored back-to-back victories in the Premier League for the first time all season, against West Ham and Huddersfield, and also beat Apollon Limassol midweek in the Europa League, picking up three clean sheets along the way. Wayne Rooney even scored a hat trick against West Ham in aid of their thumping 4-0 victory.
Credit where it’s due, but all the same, there’s no comparing those three teams to Liverpool in the form their in currently. Liverpool should be able to beat their local rivals, but there’s always a surprise or two in the derby - including a forecast of heavy snow in Liverpool to welcome the players.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Mignolet; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Mané
With Alberto Moreno out with injury, it’s likely we’ll see James Milner re-deployed there for this match. Of course, we may see Andy Robertson return to the side in that position after a pretty good performance against Stoke. Klopp may also try another experimental back three, like he used against Stoke, but seemed to be a line-up borne out of lack of options. With Lovren and Klavan both fit, we should see the expected back four once again.
Klopp will have no shortage of good options up front, but the derby isn’t one that Liverpool managers take for granted, so it’s a good guess that the...err...fab four will start together again.
Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip are both still out, and it’s unlikely that Adam Lallana will be available either. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Emre Can could find their way into the midfield, in place of Gini Wijnaldum. Henderson, however, appears to be a lock, after Klopp fired back at the skipper’s critics who questioned why he was left out of the Spartak Moscow game.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “Good organisation. Clear structure. Set-pieces on the highest level. Sigurdsson is born to deliver set-pieces. A lot of fights for second balls. We need to be ready for that. For us, the challenge is that we don’t expect to play like we did in the last twenty minutes against Moscow. That was confident. It was flying.
“We have to start from the ground, from the basis, again. We have to look for challenges and win challenges. We have to be perfectly organised. We have to protect all the things that we do in a perfect way. We must make it as difficult as possible for Everton to win any yard on the pitch.”
Sam Allardyce: “I think mentality is everything to start with. If you show any fear, Liverpool generally take advantage of that.
“If you show a good positive attitude of what you intend to do and how you intend to do it, they then know they are in for a difficult game. This is two clubs in a city clashing together with great history and there is a unique atmosphere. It is about us handling that and that pressure and atmosphere.”
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Lee Betts, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
Kickoff is set for 2:15PM GMT/9:15AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.