There are not many bigger days in the English football calendar than the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool this Saturday afternoon. Both managers will be looking for a victory at Goodison Park that would give their respective teams a massive boost for the season ahead.
Kenny Dalglish is hoping his skipper, Steven Gerrard, will be able to start after a lenghty absence from injury. The Liverpool captain would provide a priceless boost to the team after featuring in a short spell as a subsititute against Wolves last weekend.
Liverpool’s start to the season could hardly be
described as an unqualified triumph, nor could it
be labelled a disaster. As is common in recent times,
this Liverpool team find themselves floating
somewhere in the middle with three league wins.
Dalglish will be hard pushed to find a better platform
to kick-start Liverpool’s hopes of Champions League
qualification than against an out-of-sorts Everton side.
After a lacklustre start, Everton’s season was dealt a
further blow after just two league games when they
lost their influential playmaker Mikael Arteta to Arsenal.
Everton have seven points so far this season, and six
of those have been achieved against teams in the
bottom half of the table.
In relative terms, Everton have had an ‘easy’ start to the
Premier League season without securing the results
they would have hoped for, especially against newly-promoted sides. In part this could be attributed to the side's star player, Tim Cahill, suffering dwindling form this season.
Cahill will be looking to end his goal-drought after failing to hit the back of the net this season and he certainly enjoys playing against Liverpool. He is currently the highest post-war Everton scorer against Liverpool, with five league goals. How he and David Moyes would relish the chance for him to break his duck against their city rivals and leapfrog Liverpool in the league table.
Much focus has been drawn to Andy Carroll’s start to the campaign, and with no Premier League goals and just three shots on target fto date, he must be eager to score in a fixture of such prominence.
In contrast, Luis Suarez has been the star of this young, new-look Liverpool side. With three goals already and plenty of trickery to keep most Premiership defenders scratching their heads, Suarez has helped to carry Liverpool up to a respectable fifth place in the table.
Defending has proved a problem for both managers, and Liverpool and Everton have achieved just one clean sheet each - Liverpool’s at The Emirates and Everton’s at Ewood Park.
Both sides will need to tighten up their defence if they are to secure a win in the 216th Merseyside derby.
By Hugh Currell, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life
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Liverpool striker Andy Carroll and Everton's Tim Cahill have been struggling for form Pics © Trinity Mirror