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Everton vs Liverpool: Match Preview

The Reds face the Blues for the 227th time on ‘Mersey Monday’

Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It is a date that has been seared on the minds of every Evertonian since the fixtures were announced in June. And after six months and 16 league matches, derby day – or ‘Mersey Monday’ as the Sky hype-machine has christened the fixture – is now finally upon us.

Meetings with our loveable neighbours always generate a mixture of excitement and dread amongst the supporters. There is nothing better than getting one over on the Reds; it’s just a shame it has happened so infrequently in recent seasons.

It’s six years and 11 league matches since Everton last beat Liverpool - a 2-0 victory in October 2010. That represents Liverpool’s longest unbeaten streak against the Toffees since their all-conquering side of the late 70s and early 80s.

In the last 19 league meetings Everton have won just once, with Liverpool coming out on top nine times with nine draws.

Everton v Liverpool - Premier League
Everton’s last win over Liverpool was in October 2010
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

It’s a desperately poor record especially when you consider that it hasn’t always been a great Liverpool side during that time. It has got to the stage where it appears some sort of psychological barrier is affecting the Everton players whenever they come up against them lot from across the park.

The last meeting at Anfield in April was complete and utter humiliation. Liverpool scored four but could have easily got seven or eight. Everton were lucky to get nought.

It’s understandable therefore if plenty of fans are already fearing the worst, using gallows humour to try and ease the pain of yet another gut-wrenching defeat.

Liverpool v Everton - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

That’s perfectly understandable when you consider their recent record, that includes two 4-0 defeats in three seasons and a last-minute FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley in 2012.

What we all needed was a shot of confidence and belief. And that was supplied with stunning timing by last Tuesday’s win over Arsenal.

It was a night where Goodison re-discovered her voice and created the kind of bear pit atmosphere the grand old lady is famous for.

We also saw the players finally show a bit of bite and tenacity, suggesting Ronald Koeman’s message may finally be getting through.

We need more of the same on Monday evening.

The opposition

Our loveable neighbours need no introduction. The product of a rent dispute, Liverpool were formed 14 years after Everton in 1892 and first played their city rivals two years later, making it the longest running top-flight derby in England.

The latest edition – the 227th Merseyside derby – will see Jurgen Klopp visit Goodison Park for the first time since taking charge at Anfield.

Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers, who was sacked just hours after drawing 1-1 at Everton, in October of last year.

Since then Klopp has revived the team’s flagging fortunes, building a vibrant attacking side packed full of goals and they currently sit third in the table, seven points behind leaders Chelsea.

The Reds have scored 40 league goals so far this campaign, more than anyone else and nearly twice as many as Everton.

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Since losing to Burnley in August Liverpool went on a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions including a notable win against league leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

They remain weak at the back however as recent blips against Bournemouth and West Ham show.

After some high-profile errors in those games goalkeeper Loris Karius was dropped and Simon Mignolet restored to the starting line-up.

Mignolet himself was dropped earlier in the season after making some errors so Everton should definitely target the Belgian stopper at Goodison on Monday.

Team news

Everton will be without captain Phil Jagielka after his late red card against Arsenal. Ramiro Funes Mori is likely to replace him.

Gareth Barry was also rested for last week’s game and it remains to be seen whether he will come straight back into the side given the performances of James McCarthy and Ross Barkley.

Liverpool will be without Philippe Coutinho as the Brazilian playmaker continues his recovery from an ankle injury.

Marko Grujic is also sidelined while Joel Matip is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Klopp has already confirmed that Simon Mignolet will once again start in goal ahead of Loris Karius

Final word

Derbies are horrible to watch. Not helped of course by the pain of so many recent defeats permeating the Evertonian psyche, making us all naturally fear the worst.

Morale going into this game would have been pitifully low had they not picked up a result against Arsenal. The win and perhaps most importantly the manner of the performance was a timely pick-me-up and reminded us all of Goodison’s potential to intimidate even the most illustrious of opposition.

Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It also makes the game very difficult to call, even if Liverpool are once again favourites with the bookmakers.

I just cling to the hope that the law of averages dictates we are more than due a win that will allow us to finally shake off this negative mindset that weighs us down whenever we play Liverpool.

It’s time to put things right.

Predicted starting XI: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Williams, Funes Mori, Baines, Barry, Gueye, McCarthy, Barkley, Valencia, Lukaku.