‘Enemies’ Collide As Everton Clash With Liverpool
By Andah John
Another clash between these Merseyside rivals takes place tonight at Goodison Park with so much at stake.
I am going to begin with the home side. That 2-1 come-back win over an Arsenal side that had not lost a Premier League game in as many games was vital. The Everton fans will certainly be delighted they finally got the monkey off their back.
Don’t forget, that was the Toffees’ first win since October, a crucial victory it was.
And against a Liverpool side still struggling for consistency, Ronald Koeman’s charges should fancy their chances.
One man the Everton faithful would, no doubt, hope to deliver the goals is Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian, has by far, been his team’s most consistent player this season. He has found the net nine times already. Those goals were scored in 15 games.
And come to think of it, Lukaku has scored five goals in his last eight Premier League appearances against Liverpool. Now you see how important he is to his side.
But Koeman must have every reason to be worried over his team’s defence. They have conceded in all but only three games all season. And the last time they prevented a goal was in October.
The Everton manager will expect the likes of Leighton Baines, Ashley Williams and Seamus Coleman to keep it very tight at the back. They have to, more so, as they are up against their bitter rivals, who have yet to lose to any of the ‘top sides’ this season.
Like Everton, Liverpool know what it feels to beat Arsenal. The Reds handed the Gunners their first league defeat of the season. So, while Everton fans can brag about beating the North Londoners, the Anfield faithful can do the same.
Star man Philippe Coutinho is not available for this game due to an injury picked up in the 2-0 win over Sunderland last month. And this has affected Liverpool.
The Reds have endured a mixed run of results since Coutinho’s injury as they dropped points to Bournemouth and West Ham before bagging a 3-0 win last Wednesday at Middlesbrough.
Manager Jurgen Klopp will expect his side to continue in that light tonight. And with the likes of Jorden Henderson and Adam Lallana in the midfield, with Sadio Mane operating from the feather, Liverpool have players who can create chances aplenty.
The Anfield club are unbeaten in their last 11 league derby matches with Everton (W4 D7). This is their longest unbeaten run against their rivals in league competition since an 11-game streak in between March 1979 and March 1984. Everton fans will not like this.
And come to think of this: Everton have only won one of their last 19 Premier League Merseyside derbies (W1 D9 L9), with this solitary win coming in October 2010 at Goodison Park.
Key players for both sides
Romelu Lukaku (12 – nine goals, three assists) and Adam Lallana (12 – six goals, six assists) this season.
The stats may heavily favour the Reds, but in derbies we have seen stranger things.