The Merseyside Derby is one of the biggest fixtures in the Premier League season’s calendar, and this particular clash will be a sight to be seen with ex-Liverpool manager, Rafa Benitez, leading out Everton at Goodison Park this evening.
Benitez was Liverpool manager for six years at Anfield, leading his side to their iconic 2005 Champions League win, and also referring to the Toffees as a “small club” during his time as manager on the red side Merseyside.
The Spaniard made the surprising decision to sign a contract with Liverpool’s local rivals last summer, taking on the challenge of managing Everton with the view to securing European football.
Rafa’s side has been plagued with injuries ever since he took the reins at Goodison Park, which has impacted results with the Blues only taking one point from their last five games in the Premier League.
Everton will be hoping, as always, to beat their local rivals under the guidance of Rafa Benitez this evening, and will be hoping to add three points to their Premier League campaign to put them comfortably out of any relegation talk.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been no stranger to injury problems either, with five players unavailable today including Roberto Firmino and local lad, Curtis Jones, who both remain sidelined.
Liverpool have had a lot players returns in the midfield area, with the ability to go full strength in the derby thanks to the improved fitness of Thiago and Fabinho.
With that being said, this is how Football FanCast predicts Liverpool to set up against Everton this evening.
Liverpool are likely to go full strength, nearly replicating the line up that beat Southampton 4-0 last weekend, with only one change to the team.
We predict that Joel Matip will replace Ibrahima Konate in the starting XI as the manager could make the big decision to axe the centre-half from his side. That’s in order to add more experience and reliability to help Virgil van Dijk in intimidating and heavily physical duels that Everton’s attacking players will force on the Reds’ backline.
The 6 foot 5 gem is more than comfortable in these derby occasions and made an animated appearance in the 2-2 draw last season at Goodison Park, getting stuck into the game and making his presence known.
Another appearance from Thiago Alcantara will be a treat for fans. Since returning from injury he has scored two magnificent goals in consecutive games.
The £200k-per-week earner has taken the midfield by storm and been a constant attacking threat for every opponent he has faced since his return, so having him ready to go and full of confidence from scoring consecutively, will surely be a boost for Liverpool.
Liverpool could go top of the table this evening if Chelsea lose and Manchester City draw, but there is still a long way to go in the title race and the Merseyside Derby will certainly be a challenge for Klopp’s men.
In other news: Curtis Jones remains out for the Merseyside Derby