EVERTON VS. LIVERPOOL
| Saturday, September 3rd |
Premier League | Goodison Park
12:30PM BST/7:30AM EST
Everton come into this match needing a win, after fighting hard for a draw at Leeds last time out. Frank Lampard’s Toffees have managed a single win thus far this campaign, coming in the form of a 1-0 away win the early rounds of the EFL Cup against Fleetwood Town (currently in League One).
In the Premier League Everton have lost to Chelsea and Aston Villa and drawn with Nottingham Forest, Brentford, and Leeds — and most of these results flattered Everton.
Anthony Gordon has been a bright spot for Everton, scoring two thus far in their campaign (of five goals total scored), and he’s industrious in carving out space to take shots as well — notably, per Opta Everton are up to five shots on target per Premier League match vs. 3.6 per match last campaign. This might come as some surprise given the loss of talismanic striker Richarlison, though the small sample size might also be involved here.
They have new signings who could debut in the derby: Neal Maupay, Idrissa Gana Gueye, and James Garner could all feature for the Toffees. Of these two, Gueye is the most important, as Everton have lacked some control in the midfield for some time; formerly having played for the Toffees, Gueye should be able to slot in easily.
Amadou Onana, another new signing who has already bedded in at Everton, has showed a promising start to his career on Merseyside. Though having less of a direct impact on the scoresheet as the likes of Gordon, he did create and own goal and generally looks a danger in the build-up. He will be a key challenge for Liverpool should be be selected.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (hamstring), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (knee), Mason Holgate (knee), Yerry Mina (ankle), Ben Godfrey (fractured fibula) and Andros Townsend (ACL) are all unavailable.
Everton’s time-wasting antics were notable against Leeds, and the Reds can expect more of the same. Given the practice in coping with this against Newcastle, one hopes Liverpool will be able to handle the cynicism — and that Anthony Taylor looks to actively deal with it.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Milner, Fabinho, Elliott; Salah, Firmino, Díaz
It is a short turnaround from Wednesday to Saturday, though it’s one Liverpool and other teams in European competition are generally accustomed to. This should give Liverpool a slight advantage, though the injuries limit squad rotation.
Given that the likes of Darwin Núñez, Joël Matip, Curtis Jones, and Diogo Jota are likely returning/have returned from suspension and injury, Jürgen Klopp will have more senior options than he has done in the last few games. Given the option of five substitutions, however, it’s possible he stays with the line-up that’s most in-rhythm, bringing on fresher legs later on.
Jota has been training, but is not yet confirmed as part of the matchday squad. Should he be fit enough to be included, it puts Liverpool in a strong position:
“But if we do [have Jota],” Klopp told the press, “then it is the first time we’ve had five attackers. It feels like Christmas. If we will make changes, we will see.”
Núñez is a talking point, naturally. He was suspended because he lost his head after being needled against Crystal Palace, and should he play we can absolutely expect Everton to target him. As such, his return has the potential to be the strongest possible test to see whether he’s learned his lesson.
The club is awaiting scans on Jordan Henderson’s injury, though he’s expected to be missing for some time. New signing Arthur Melo is awaiting international clearance, and cannot be involved against Everton, and Thiago is not yet back in training — though should be ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Napoli. Ibrahima Konaté is expected back following the international break.
Everton will come hungry and likely to make this a proper derby. Manchester United have already proven this season that a worse team playing with a bit more desire can land a glove on Liverpool if the Reds are complacent. Klopp’s men will hope to prove that they’re back in the form that has seen them go unbeaten against Everton in their last 11 away games, and win three of the last five Merseyside derbies (only failing to win in the injury-laden, fanless 2020/21 season — D1 L1).
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp on Merseyside Derbies: “Tight games. Pretty much all, or most of the time, really tight, even the games we won. We won one [with a] Sadio Mane goal, 90th minute. It’s a big fight, we cannot ignore that but you have to play football as well. That’s the challenge. From this point of view I really think the Newcastle game was the perfect preparation because the game was super intense and showed us what we will have to expect even if somebody might not know it yet, then he knows it after Wednesday. Yeah, in the last few years I am involved in most of these draws and the games were still all different, just intense, a lot of fight. The more you can put in football as well in between these fighting moments the more likely you can get more from the game. But that’s obviously a real challenge.”
Frank Lampard: “I’ve got huge respect for Jurgen Klopp and what he’s done over the last number of years but of course, it’s a Merseyside Derby and I’m here to do my job and I’ll stand up and do my job.”
Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn Fourth Official: Craig Pawson VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood
Kickoff is set for 12:30PM BST/7:30AM EST tomorrow. Stick with The Liverpool Offside team to keep yourself up to date with team news and match buildup, live updates, and post-match reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.