The two biggest teams on Merseyside square-up in the Premier League on Monday night, as Everton face Liverpool at Anfield.
It’s been a troubled season for both clubs, with struggles both on-and-off the pitch leading to a number of disappointing results.
Everton find themselves near the bottom of the table, with hopes of survival now pinned on new boss Sean Dyche.
Meanwhile, Liverpool sit in 10th spot and are without a league win since the start of the new year.
A win here would boost the spirits in either camp and hopefully lead to a turnaround in fortunes.
Can Klopp Stop The Rot?
Liverpool’s league results make for grim reading since their last win on December 30th against Leicester.
Four games, no wins, one draw and three losses. Nine goals conceded, one scored. So, what’s gone wrong?
Liverpool fans will point to a number of factors including injuries, poor recruitment, an ageing squad and possible burnout. After all, this is a team that was fighting on all four fronts to win an unprecedented quadruple last season.
Liverpool have had difficulty with injuries. Luis Diaz, probably their best player early on this season, is out with a long-term problem. Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Ibrahima Konaté have also been out, as has Virgil van Dijk.
The Reds’ main issue so far has been the midfield. The once so dependable and domineering trio of Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcântara and Fabinho just doesn’t have the legs anymore and is being easily overrun.
Youngster Stefan Bajčetić has been drafted in recently to add running and energy, but the inexperience makes it difficult to have an impact.
As a result, the defence is being exposed and the heavy defeats continue.
Can they begin their turnaround with victory over their neighbours?
Dyche To The Rescue
What a start to life at Goodison Park!
New manager Sean Dyche couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick-off his career on Merseyside. A 1-0 win over league leaders Arsenal, just their second defeat of the campaign, could be the start of a resurgence under the Englishman.
Fittingly, it was an ex-Burnley combination for the only goal of the game. Dwight McNeil’s corner finding the head of James Tarkowski to nod home. But Dyche will have been pleased with the overall performance of the whole team.
They sprinted, pressed and didn’t give Arsenal a second on the ball for the entire 90 minutes. In possession, they were confident and composed and created a number of big chances. It could have been more.
The unrest at Goodison Park was beginning to boil over prior to the sacking of Frank Lampard. Before the victory over Arsenal, they hadn’t won a league game since October. Their best result coming against Manchester City and a 1-1 draw at the Etihad.
But Sean Dyche has given the Gwladys Street End a bit of hope for the future. Can he keep his team winning and get one over their derby rivals? We’ll just have to see.
The reverse fixture between these two back in September ended in a goalless draw. Conor Coady had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside, before Mohamed Salah struck the post late on.
It was a typically frantic affair between the two rivals, and we expect this to be same. The Reds will need their front three of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo, his first experience of a Merseyside derby, to be firing on all cylinders.
The Toffees will be aiming to carry momentum over from their huge win against Arsenal.
We think this will be a tight, scrappy game as these matches usually are. Sean Dyche is a specialist in making these big games difficult for the opposition, and Liverpool aren’t in a good moment right now. We’re going for honours even at 1-1.
How do you see this one playing out? Let us know over on the socials and keep it locked into @JDFootball for all the build-up.
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