The Merseyside Derby is always an event. With both sides of Liverpool squaring up for their hometown rivalry, the games have been known to be chaotic, injury-ridden, and dramatic. They also, on occasion, can be miserable, goalless slogs that we all collectively have to make it through before we can go about the rest of our days.
But this derby has special significance simply because of how poor Liverpool’s season has been. In recent years, winning the derby was about bragging rights and local dominance, with Liverpool always way ahead of Everton on the table. This season, Everton are still a galaxy away from the Reds, but Liverpool teetering only a point from the bottom half of the table means that there’s a desperation for the three points along with the usual rivalry.
Everton, similarly, are looking down the very real possibility of being relegated this season, so every game until the end will likely be a fight for survival.
Alisson Becker understands the stakes in the match this time around, and he spoke to the official site about the feelings surrounding Monday’s match up.
“I believe at this moment our biggest opponent [is] ourselves,” he said. “And then, of course, we have Everton with really good quality. They are not in a good situation but they changed managers, they are excited, they beat the leaders in the league and this shows they have the quality there in their team. It’s a derby – they’re going to fight for the result but we’re going to fight as well. We have our supporters on our side and when we are together, we are stronger. We know how strong we are when we are together on the pitch and with the crowd supporting us. That’s what we need to do and that’s what we need to be on Monday.”
If the Reds can’t get up for a derby at Anfield under those conditions, then all might truly be lost. The good news is that there have been some positive injury updates about some of Liverpool’s many sidelined players.
Diogo Jota is close to full fitness, with Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, and Arthur Melo all behind them. Thiago Alcantara is being assessed for a hip flexor problem. The return of these influential players could have a big impact on the trajectory of Liverpool’s season.