Liverpool host Everton at Anfield on Saturday in the English Premier League. The Reds have been in dire league form but got a morale-boosting win in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Everton have been very inconsistent of late with key injury absences affecting the side. Carlo Ancelotti could see this as a chance to reignite his team’s hopes of a top four finish whilst Jurgen Klopp will want to open up some distance to their cross-city rivals.
Liverpool are in very poor form. They have won just four of their last 13 matches in all competitions. With six losses in their last 11 matches and three consecutive losses at Anfield, the side have dropped to sixth in the table and crashed out of the FA Cup. Facing deep defences has been a major issue with Burnley and Brighton beating Liverpool on their own patch.
On their travels, things look rosier. Liverpool won 3-1 at Tottenham and 3-1 at West Ham being self-destructing to concede three goals in seven minutes in a 3-1 defeat at Leicester. On Tuesday, Liverpool won 2-0 away at RB Leipzig as Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane scored.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool continue to suffer from an injury crisis in several departments. Ozan Kabak started and did well in the 2-0 win away to RB Leipzig in midweek and should keep his place alongside Jordan Henderson in central defence. Fabinho is struggling with a muscle injury and is in a race against time to be fit.
The midfield area looks set to include Gini Wijnaldum, Thiago Alcantara plus one more. James Milner is doubtful so Curtis Jones should keep his place in attack after an assist against RB Leipzig. Liverpool don’t have much room to rotate their side as the bench is likely to comprise mostly less experienced defenders. Perhaps Divock Origi or Oxlade-Chamberlain could be selected to freshen up the attack at best.
Jurgen Klopp has already conceded the league title and now simply has to finish between second and fourth place to secure Champions League qualification. The Reds currently sit two points off fourth place and three points ahead of Everton having played a match more. That means this is a must-win clash.
Liverpool should have plenty of the ball in this game but will have to guard against Everton’s counter attacking play and set pieces. They will attack but are also likely to leave at least 4-5 men behind the ball at all times. A draw would be a poor result and they can’t afford to play for one at any point.
Everton’s run of four consecutive wins in December is now a distant memory. They have one win in their last six in the Premier League and have lost four of their last eight. That run has seen home defeats to West Ham, Newcastle, Fulham and Man City. Against the former three sides, they lacked ideas when forced to take the initiative in matches.
On the road, with more space to counter attack, Everton have won at Wolves and at Leeds in recent matches as well as taking a point away to Man Utd. In fact, they have won four and drawn three of their last seven on their travels and have become a fine side at playing on the road.
Everton Team News
Everton are hoping to have Allan back in the matchday squad for this game after a long hamstring injury. He would boost midfield no-end and give much more protection to the defence. Carlo Ancelotti said after the Man City defeat that Dominic Calvert-Lewin ans Allan should be able to start against Liverpool up front and in holding midfield respectively.
The coach will have to decide between the defensive intensity of Alex Iwobi versus the creativity of James Rodriguez on the right, especially coming up against Andy Robertson. In defence, Yerry Mina went off with a calf problem in the last match so Ben Godfrey could move inside with Lucas Digne reverting to left back.
Everton’s approach against Man City is likely to be repeated in this match. Ancelotti will have his side sit quite deep, starting their pressing around 20 yards into their own half. They will then look to spring counter attacks down the flanks or with Abdoulaye Doucoure carrying the ball forward on transition.
Everton would very likely take a draw from this game in a heartbeat and will set up to play for one from the start. Even if they trailing, they don’t open up too much but they will bring on fresh attackers like Josh King or James Rodriguez.
The Reds are have won 2 of their last 11 PL matches
Liverpool have lost 5 of their last 8 matches in all competitions
Liverpool have lost 3 and drawn 2 of their last 5 home PL matches
Everton have won 5 and drawn 2 of their last 7 away PL matches
5 of the last 7 meetings between these sides have seen under 2.5 goals
Liverpool vs Everton is the most-drawn fixture in PL history, with 24 meetings ending level
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 23 matches vs Everton in all competitions (W11, D12).
This match is really difficult to predict. Liverpool are in awful home form and Everton look much more comfortable on their travels. This is primed for an upset but whether it’s a long overdue Toffees win or a draw is the big call. A draw is the most likely outcome between these sides based on recent meetings.