Everton vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, December 1st |
Premier League | Goodison Park
8:15PM BST / 3:15PM EST
Since being forced out of the club during its darkest hours back in 2010, Rafa Benítez has faced Liverpool on six occasions, and both he and the fans have become accustomed to the dynamic, but tomorrow, taking the pitch for the Reds’ fierce local rivals, under threat of losing his job, it is difficult to imagine the match won’t carry some extra weight.
The Ev are struggling this season, sitting 14th in the table and suffering under a combination of injury troubles and talent deficiency. Despite spending half a billion Euros on transfers over the past half decade, the Toffees simply don’t have that many good footballers, and with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and Tom Davies all missing through injury, they are further depleted.
Which is all to say, the Reds, who are on devastating attacking form and have a penchant for getting opposition managers the sack, may be the straw that breaks Rafa’s back tomorrow, and we’re all going to have to feel some way about it. Hopefully, we can go top of the table in the process.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Mané, Jota, Salah
For Liverpool, one wouldn’t expect too many changes from the side that demolished Southampton at the weekend. Ibrahima Konaté might see Joël Matip replace him after another good-but-not-great performance, but the expectation is that Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson will all retain their place. Joe Gomez is expected to return to training next week.
In midfield, Naby Keïta is still a week or two away from fitness, and Curtis Jones’ eye injury will keep him sidelined until further notice, but the undefeated duo of Fabinho and Thiago is available, and will be braced by one of Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or James Milner.
Up top, Roberto Firmino remains out with a hamstring injury for at least another two or three weeks, so Sadio Mané, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah, who have notched 25 league goals between them this season, will get another run-out. Divock Origi, the man for the big occasions, is waiting in the wings should the moment arrive.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We play good football, we have to do good football tomorrow night and if we do that then we are difficult to play – and that’s exactly the plan we have.”
Rafa Benítez: “We have to stay focused, go back to the principle of defending as a unit. After, we try to play the best way possible on the ball, if we have to play counter-attack then do it.”
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant referees: Constantine Hatzidakis, Adam Nunn
Fourth official: Jonathan Moss
VAR: Michael Oliver, Sian Massey-Ellis
Kickoff is set for 8:15PM GMT/3:15PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, 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.