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The Best Merseyside Derby Yet?

Both Liverpool and Everton are in fine form heading into Sunday's clash, making it tough for fans and pundits to call.


Jurgen Klopp's 'fab four' (I didn't come up with that) seem to have finally found their rhythm, with Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho all managed to find the net against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League midweek, the latter scoring three times to come away with the match ball. The 7-0 thrashing made it 32 goals in 9 games for the Reds, since their dreadful loss to Spurs.

The record Liverpool have against the Toffees from the other side of Stanley Park also favours them, being unbeaten at Anfield since 1999 and unbeaten in the Premier League since 2010. Klopp and his side will surely be confident of a big win on Sunday, right?

Wrong. Since Sam Allardyce took over from Ronald Koeman as manager, Everton has won three games back-to-back. This makes it a very different fixture to what it would have been had it been played a few weeks ago. 'Big Sam' will set his team up to make it difficult to play against, and could potentially cause problems to Liverpool's shaky back line. By no means will it be an easy game for Liverpool.

Players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson all have the potential to do damage at Anfield, and with Joel Matip and Alberto Moreno both likely out for the game, Reds fans have reason to be worried.

Everton may need just one moment of brilliance to see off Liverpool

In the 2014/15 season, Everton earned a 1-1 draw at Anfield in what was a very memorable game, because of a very memorable goal, scored by none other than Phil Jagielka.

The game was into stoppage time, Lovren headed it clear and it landed to Phil Jagielka on the edge of the box. Most centre backs don't have a weak foot, but that didn't matter to the England international as he turned it onto his right foot, and thumped the ball into the top corner of the net, slicing across the ball to wrong-foot Simon Mignolet. It was one of the best Merseyside derby goals ever, if not the best.

Everton could do with a moment of inspiration like that, as that might be exactly what they need to beat this high quality Liverpool side, and they have the experienced players, like Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson, along with a bit of youth, ie Dominic Calvert Lewin, who could make it happen.

Predicted Lineups

Liverpool is without Joel Matip, who is out until January with a long term injury, and Alberto Moreno, who injured his ankle in the game against Spartak Moscow. Gomez will most likely come and fill in for Matip, so Trent Alexander Arnold will have to play right back. Milner will move from midfield to left back, still ahead of Andrew Robertson. Henderson should come back into the side, meaning either Can or Wijnaldum will drop to the bench.

Klopp should go back to the 4-3-3 formation that has done well for him so far this season, although the 4-2-3-1 did work wonders against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League.

Mignolet

Alexander-Arnold Gomez Lovren Milner

Wijnaldum Henderson Coutinho

Salah Firmino Mane

Calvert-Lewin and Rooney will be attempting to continue their good football. Sigurdsson is likely to play right behind the six-foot-one striker to provide creativity. Everton will use the 3-5-1-1 formation to utilise these players in the best way available.

Pickford

Holgate Jagielka Williams

Kenny Davies Gueye Rooney Martina

Sigurdsson

Calvert-Lewin

Match predictions

As always, the Merseyside derby will be a fiercely competitive one. No other Premier League fixture has seen more red cards shown, which just shows what it means to all the players involved. I don’t expect it to be very different on Sunday, with at least one red card at the ready.

If Everton tries to come out against Liverpool, it could play into the Reds’ hands, as they are so devastating on the counter, meaning that Everton’s back three will feel a bit unprotected. Additionally, Liverpool’s back line has shored up in recent games, conceding just three in the league since the away loss to Spurs.

Score prediction: 2-0 to Liverpool

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