It’s often said that form goes out the window in a derby match, and Liverpool fans will be desperately hoping that’s the case as Jürgen Klopp’s struggling Reds prepare to face an Everton that look revitalised by the arrival of Sean Dyche and who everyone expects will come out hard when the match kicks off.
If Liverpool aren’t equally ready to play an uptempo and physical game—and on the evidence of the football they’ve played of late, with three defeats, one draw, and one goal scored in four league games so far in 2023 they well may not be—it could be a humiliating night.
“This is a derby so we need to fight with everything we have but only in a positive way,” Klopp said in his pre-game notes. “We have to fight to play football and nothing else. This is a game for passion but it can only ever be used in the right way. Nothing else makes sense.
“I have said before that sometimes these matches can be too intense and I know this isn’t always what people want to hear, but it is true. Intensity is a part of what we do and the reality is that we could not do anything without it, but we have to bring our other qualities too or else we will just make a difficult fixture even harder.”
The hope, perhaps, will be that the opponents will give Liverpool and the home crowd a boost, and that that in turn will lead to a result that will just maybe be what they need to start to get their season back on track with the Premier League just past its half-way point.
The top four may appear increasingly out of reach, but with 18 games to play including tonight’s there is always hope until the situation becomes mathematically impossible. They will also need to improve their overall form to have a chance of advancing in Europe, where they play Real Madrid next week.
“Our form going into tonight is not what we would want it to be and we are as aware of this as anyone,” Klopp added. “I have no doubt that Everton will look at us and think that we are not in our finest moment because that is true, but it is up to us to fix that and no-one else.”