Liverpool finally return to Premier League action on Sunday night and the stakes could not be much higher. Everton at Goodison Park, for another step towards the title.
Everton vs. Liverpool
Sunday, June 21, 2020 – 7pm (BST)
Premier League (30)
Referee: Mike Dean
Following a long and necessary pause, the Reds are back after a 103-day spell without a game this weekend, making the short trip across Stanley Park.
As one of the first games since the Premier League‘s resumption, the narrative is set for the broadcasters and newspapers alike, with a rival clash bearing a strong impact on the title race.
The trophy is all but Liverpool’s of course, with just six points out of a possible 27 needed to become champions, but victory over Everton would set Jurgen Klopp‘s side on course for an early (or late, given we’re now in June) coronation.
Both sides have kept up training during football’s suspension, but the Reds find themselves in a much healthier position, boosted by a 6-0 thrashing of Blackburn in their warmup friendly.
Klopp’s team talk is laid out for him, and Sunday night could bring one of the most fascinating games in Liverpool’s recent history.
A three-month break has aided most clubs in terms of nursing players back to fitness, but not Everton.
The Blues have suffered a series of setbacks ahead of the restart, with Fabian Delph, Yerry Mina, Theo Walcott and Jean-Philippe Gbamin all picking up injuries in recent weeks.
Morgan Schneiderlin is also out, but Andre Gomes is back and should start in their midfield—which was highlighted by The Blue Room’s Matt Jones and David Downie as a major weakness.
Meanwhile, if Klopp is to be believed, Liverpool have no major issues heading into the derby.
“They all look good. We had, of course, during the training period, some little problems. That’s completely normal,” he told reporters on Friday.
“But none of them are ruled out for Sunday, I can say.”
However, more likely is that Xherdan Shaqiri will miss out having not trained with the squad over the past month, while there is a question mark over Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian has been absent in recent sessions, though having returned to Melwood on Friday there is still a possibility he could start.
Andy Robertson and Curtis Jones have both sat out of late, too, but there is a bigger chance of them featuring, though the likes of James Milner, Takumi Minamino, Naby Keita and Divock Origi are waiting in the wings.
Possible Everton XI: Pickford; Sidibe, Keane, Holgate, Digne; Iwobi, Gomes, Davies, Bernard; Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Last 5 Away to Everton (All Competitions)
Drew 0-0 – March 2019
Drew 0-0 – April 2018
Won 1-0 – December 2016 (Mane)
Drew 1-1 – October 2015 (Lukaku; Ings)
Drew 0-0 – February 2015
Did You Know?
Divock Origi has scored five goals in just seven games against Everton, with only 14 players in Liverpool’s history scoring at least five in the Merseyside derby.
Only two of those, Luis Suarez (five goals in six appearances; 0.83) and Fred Howe (five in five; one), boast a better goals-per-game ratio than the Belgian (0.71).
Ian Rush is the Reds’ all-time top scorer in the derby, with 25 goals in 36 outings, with Steven Gerrard (10 in 33), Harry Chambers (eight in 13), Jack Parkinson (eight in 15) and Dick Forshaw (seven in 12) rounding off the top five.
One more goal would push Origi into the top 10, level with Robbie Fowler, Gordon Hodgson, Peter Beardsley and Jack Balmer on six.
Everton – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 4-0 vs. Chelsea
Drew 1-1 vs. Man United
Lost 3-2 vs. Arsenal
Won 3-1 vs. Crystal Palace
Lost 3-2 vs. Watford
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Lost 3-2 vs. Atletico Madrid
Won 2-1 vs. Bournemouth
Lost 2-0 vs. Chelsea
Lost 3-0 Watford
Won 3-2 vs. West Ham
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday via Zoom, Klopp urged Liverpool to “use the circumstances” of a “different” Merseyside derby to their advantage:
“We’ve known for a while already that we have no supporters, so I answered the question pretty much every day.
“My answer cannot change: it’s all different, but we cannot change that. So we have to use the circumstances, not suffer from that.
“That means there’s a game between Everton and Liverpool, which is still a derby and important for both teams for different reasons, and that’s what we are looking forward to.”
TV & Liveblog Info
Everton vs. Liverpool will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Main Event and free-to-air on Sky Pick, with coverage starting at 6.30pm (BST) ahead of the 7pm kickoff.
Sky Pick is available free on the following channels:
Freeview: Channel 11
Freesat: Channel 144
Sky (UK): Channel 159
Virgin Media (UK): Channel 165
Chris Williams will be keeping you informed and up to date with all the action on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 6.15pm (BST).