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10 key things to know about Everton vs. Liverpool

It’s Merseyside derby time and one that Liverpool need to emerge victorious from and their current run of form bodes well in doing just that.

The Reds are in formidable form heading into the 239th Merseyside derby, winning back-to-back-to-back games with an aggregate scoreline of 10-0.

Now it’s time to make the very short trip to Goodison Park, where all is not so settled under the management of Rafa Benitez.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the match.

 

1. Everton in dire straits

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Monday, November 1, 2021: Everton's manager Rafael Benítez during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Everton FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

They say form goes out of the window in a derby and Everton will be the side hoping that it rings true as they’ve collected just two points from the last possible 21.

Five defeats and two draws in the league positions the Blues just six points above the relegation zone with 13 matches played.

Their 1-0 defeat last time out at Brentford led to fans openly showing their frustration with their last victory dating back to September 25, against Norwich.

 

2. How could the Blues line up?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 13, 2021: Everton's Richarlison de Andrade during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Burnley FC at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rafa Benitez has a few key figures out of his selection reach in midweek, including Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Minaa and Tom Davies through injury and Mason Holgate due to suspension.

He will welcome back Richarlison, however, and Liverpool will be eager to see no signs of his rash and dangerous approach that cause Thiago‘s injury in the last visit to the blue side.

Demarai Gray could return to the XI to add some needed potency with goals hard to come by for Everton, with just one from their last four games, but they’ll have a tough task against Liverpool.

Possible Everton XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne; Townsend, Allan, Doucoure, Iwobi; Gray; Richarlison

 

3. Any Liverpool injury updates?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s a case of the same squad is at Jurgen Klopp‘s disposal on Wednesday as it was on Saturday with Naby Keita, Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones and Roberto Firmino still unavailable.

It is anticipated that Keita and Gomez will return to team training next week while Firmino is still a “couple weeks away from being fully back.”

The frustration continues over Curtis Jones‘ freak eye injury, meanwhile, with Liverpool waiting on the doctor’s green light before he can come back into contention.

At least the good news is there were no new injuries against Southampton!

 

4. Liverpool’s predicted XI

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 24, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara celebrates after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 5 game between Liverpool FC and FC Porto at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The first thought is the strongest possible starting XI, with a four-day break it makes sense.

But Klopp is known to throw in a wildcard or two in the derby and Wednesday may be no different, with Divock Origi, Kostas Tsimikas, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Takumi Minamino all possibilities.

In saying that, the inkling is that just a single change could be in the reckoning with Joel Matip returning in place of Ibrahima Konate.

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Jota

 

5. What a duo

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 3, 2021: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (R) aqnd Thiago Alcantara before during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is much debate about Liverpool’s best midfield when all options are fit and firing but it’s fair to say Fabinho and Thiago will be two popular choices, and for good reason.

They’ve not started together nearly as much as was hoped but in the 12 that they have across all competitions, Liverpool have won them all.

Not to mention 10 of the 12 have ended with a Liverpool clean sheet.

Long may it continue.

 

6. Benitez’s record vs. Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 23, 2016: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp shakes hands with Newcastle United's manager Rafael Benitez after the 2-2 draw during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by Bradley Ormesher/Propaganda)

Benitez in the opposition dugout is somewhat of a familiar sight for Liverpool with the Spaniard having come up against his former club on eight different occasions.

That he will do it as the manager of our fierce rivals is something else completely, with this the first time that a former Liverpool manager is in charge of Everton in this fixture.

As manager of Valencia, Chelsea and Newcastle, Benitez has a record of two victories, three draws and three defeats at the hands of the Reds.

And now it’s time for Liverpool to add another to the loss column.

 

7. Van Dijk’s Goodison return

Virgil van Dijk will return to the scene of his heartbreaking injury and while that may be “difficult,” Klopp knows his defender has the experience to navigate the emotion and the game safely:

“We’re all human beings, so it’s probably difficult to ignore something like that.

“But Virgil is very experienced and he has now had these kinds of situations constantly since he’s back.

“He’s always in challenges and all these kinds of things, where he just has to be completely free of all things he could have in his mind because of one issue in the past.

“So yeah, slightly more different, because it’s the same place. But apart from that, it’s just a football game again.”

 

8. Did you know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 4, 2019: Liverpools Divock Origi passes Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as ge scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That only Steven Gerrard (9) and Robbie Fowler (6) have scored more goals in a Merseyside derby in the Premier League than Divock Origi.

The forward is a constant thorn in Everton‘s side and is everpresent in their nightmares have scored five goals in eight league appearances.

His game time may be limited so far this season but he has goals under his belt and Klopp clearly is not shy in putting him in the spotlight against the Blues.

 

9. Tierney is the man in the middle

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 30, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara and referee Paul Tierney during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James’ Park. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Paul Tierney is to take charge of his first-ever Merseyside derby, with Michael Oliver overseeing VAR.

It is the second Liverpool game that Tierney has been in charge of this season, his first being the 2-2 draw against Man City in October.

There were seven yellow cards shown that day and a derby certainly lends itself to more.

 

10. It’s Prime time!

It’s that time of the year again when Amazon Prime come back into the UK broadcast bubble, with the first offering in the form of the Merseyside derby from 6.30pm (GMT), ahead of the 8.15pm kickoff.

And never fear, you can get a 30-day free trial of Prime Video to watch Everton vs. Liverpool and then Leicester vs. Liverpool on December 28 here!

But if you can’t watch the match live, then Henry Jackson is at the helm of This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog from 7.30pm to talk you through all the action, completely biased of course!

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