The pick of Tuesday’s fixture is certainly the latest Merseyside Derby, as Everton will be visiting Anfield to take on neighbours Liverpool. Despite the friendly and well publicized relationship between most Everton and Liverpool fans, there’s no love loss between the players.
You can expect another full blooded affair when Gerrard and Jagielka lead their teams in to battle on Tuesday evening, although both sides will have an injury list to contend with made worse by Brian Oviedo’s double leg break in the FA Cup.
Everton’s latest absentee – Oviedo – will join Distin, Alcaraz, Coleman, Barkley and Pieenar on the sidelines, whilst above-mentioned Jagielka isn’t 100% either. New signing Traore also has a hamstring strain to deal with.
The hosts will be missing Sakho, Allen, Enrique, Agger, Lucas and Johnson, but they will have available to all-important attacking trio of Coutinho, Sturridge and Suarez.
Brendan Rogers was recently quoted as telling BBC Sport that his side are still a title contender, but failing to beat European chasing rivals Everton at home would throw that in to question, with Arsenal, and Chelsea likely to win their midweek fixtures.
Fifth placed Spurs will host second placed City and although the visitors are likely to take 3 points in my opinion, it could provide Spurs with the opportunity to push Liverpool in to fifth, leaving them 11 points off the pace.
Any Merseyside derby is considered a must win by the fans of the home team, but the upcoming period for Liverpool really is.
The Reds will take comfort in knowing they’ve played the top 6 sides away already and will soon welcome them to Anfield, where they’ve scored 35 times in 13 games this season. It’s no Etihad, but they have averaged over 3 goals here since late October.
Everton tend to play a slightly more reserved style of football on their travels, but they’re clearly doing something right having not lost in their previous 8 outings in all competitions, and also in 16 of their last 17 overall.
The Toffees have the joint best away defensive record in the Premier League, whilst target man Lukaku has netted every time he’s come up against Liverpool.
Liverpool haven’t lost to Everton at Anfield in their previous 12 meetings, a run that stretches all the way back to a 1-0 home loss in the 1999/2000 season. Liverpool have managed four away wins in seven visits to Goodison Park, so this is a fixture largely dominated by the red side.
The worry was what would become of David Moyes’ slowly but surely progressing Everton under the hands of Martinez – especially after his initial big signings were two Wigan players – but there is absolutely zero doubting his managerial ability, and he’s capable of taking this team the step further that Moyes never quite managed.
New signing Aiden McGeady will give Everton the crative quality they need in the middle of the pitch to break Liverpool down in the absence of Ross Barkley.
This should be as entertaining as always, but if you’re considering placing a bet, I think the home side will eventually find a way past a resilient Everton side.
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