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Liverpool vs Everton - Match Preview

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Nervous yet?

Everton bid to improve on a run of just three wins in 25 years at Anfield against a Liverpool side with plenty of problems to sort out themselves.

 

They say the form book goes out of the window in games like this but given the way to the two teams have played recently, I would prefer it if Everton went outside, picked up that form book and kept it very close to their chest thank you very much.

 

Everton will go into this derby with the rare honour of being above Liverpool, just like they were in October (I'm digging around to try and find out the last time we went into BOTH derbies ahead of them).

But given we are sitting side-by-side in 12th and 13th, with just goal difference separating us, means we have little to crow about in what has been a pretty desperate season for both clubs.

We do seem to have picked up a bit of form though - our last two games have arguably been our best performances of the season.

Much of that seems down to the switch to 4-4-2, with Louis Saha in particular thriving with a partner up top next to him.

I really hope Moyes sticks to that  formation at Anfield rather than go defensive. It would sends out the wrong messages as this Liverpool side, with it's brittle confidence, is there for the taking.

In nine year at the helm Moyes has overseen four draws and five defeats at Anfield - two of those with Liverpool reduced to ten men early on. I think he negativity hasn't helped us at times, inviting Liverpool onto us and putting needless pressure onto the defence.

Blackpool showed on Wednesday that if you get at this Liverpool side, they have a soft centre and a first derby 'double' since 1984/85 is certainly possible.

I was present at Anfield the last time we won there - September 1999!!!

Unfortunately I can't make it this time - and at £45 a ticket I probably couldn't afford it even if I had the opportunity! But if Moyes sticks to the attacking formation displayed in the last two games I honestly reckon we have a great chance.

Team news wise Liverpool will be without captain Steven Gerrard, who is serving the second of a three-game ban. Joe Cole's ankle injury has recovered and Fabio Aurelio should return after sitting out the defeat to Blackpool.

Everton will again be without defender Phil Jagielka, who has missed the last two games with a thigh injury. Steven Pienaar should be available despite the fact that he is likely to leave or at the very least confirm his summer departure.

 

Match stats

Head-to-head

• Everton are looking for their first double over Liverpool since the 1984/85 campaign - Kenny Dalglish played for the Reds in both 1-0 defeats that season.

• There were two sendings-off (Sotiros Kyrgiakos and Steven Pienaar) in the corresponding fixture last season, which Liverpool won 1-0. There have been 10 red cards in the last 12 league meetings - and more in this fixture (19) than any other in the Premier League.

• The last four league meetings at Anfield have produced just four goals in total.


Liverpool

• Liverpool have lost four of their last five Premier League matches. They have lost 10 matches this season, their most defeats at this stage of a top-flight season for 57 years - that season, they were relegated.

• The Reds have won five of their last six league games at Anfield.

• Fernando Torres is set to make his 100th Premier League appearance for Liverpool. He has scored 63 goals in 99 appearances.

• The Reds go into the game without Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. They have played in the last 19 fixtures against Everton since both missed the 1-1 draw at Anfield in February 2002.

• As a player, Kenny Dalglish scored five goals for Liverpool against Everton. As a manager, he has faced the Toffees 20 times (W11 D6 L3)

Everton

• Everton have lost just three of their 11 Premier League away matches this season - only Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City have lost fewer.

• The Toffees have drawn 10 games in this season's Premier League, the joint-highest tally.

• Everton have been awarded one penalty at Anfield in the last 73 years - Wayne Clarke scored it in December 1988.

• Leighton Baines has seven Premier League assists this season, more than any other defender.

• Sylvain Distin is set to make his 400th appearance for an English club.