The Merseyside Derby

Sports News - February 05, 2009
Liverpool make the short trip across Stanley Park tomorrow as the blue side of Liverpool welcomes it's fierce local rivals for the 212th Merseyside derby. A derby which is often referred to as "the friendly derby" but despite what may happen in the stands when families are split between blue and red shirts, on the pitch it is a very different story.

Famous throughout the footballing world this fixture is always one on a neutrals list.

This season the derby has come at a very interesting time for both clubs. With Liverpool's wobbly form and Everton's poor run of results you don't immediately feel as though this will be a match full of goals and excitement. Liverpool have also just suffered the blow of exiting the Champions League, but will we be able to put this behind us and get a win at Goodison Park on Sunday?

Everton's Last four fixtures have resulted in 3 losses and 1 win. Liverpool's last four fixtures have resulted in them collecting 3 draws and 1 win. So both sides provide not much to go with on form terms.

What About Injuries?

Like Liverpool, Everton have also been subject to quite a few injuries; ones to note being the loss of Arteta, Jagielka and Phil Neville. Perhaps because of this Everton have not been up to scratch so far this season and after being beaten by Hull last week they hardly did themselves any favours.

Liverpool on the other hand are finally starting to see the light at the end of the physio room and many players are now available to start. However Torres will be subject to a late fitness test and even if he manages to pass this i highly doubt he will start the game. Riera is also a doubt and Babel is still recovering from an ankle injury.

With all this rolled into one you suspect that this could very well be a somewhat unsatisfactory draw, but this fixture relates to the Manchester United one.

Again Liverpool were on a bad run of form, we had injuries, we had defensive errors to deal with but we rose to the occasion and beat Manchester United in style. The Merseyside derby is another example of when form gets thrown out of the window, it wouldn't matter if Liverpool had lost all of their fixtures in the run up to the game, as soon as Z-Cars has finished and the whistle has been blown the fresh start begins.

Stat Sandwich:
  • The Reds are looking to win three league games in a row at Goodison for only 3rd time in club's history.
  • Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville are the only players in Derby history to be sent off twice.
  • Liverpool are looking to keep their first clean sheet way from home in the league this season.

Benitez will no doubt be looking for a good performance from the lads and ineveitably a win. After the media again persist to use the Champions League exit as fuel for the "Bitch About Benitez" fire, a result will certainly add hush to his critics.

Benitez will also have the option of playing Alberto Aquilani in this fixture and although there are rumours he may start, again i feel him making a 20minute substitute appearance is more likely, i can't wait to see him get a good run out and i feel this fixture could be just the thing to get him started.

The atmosphere will surely provide to a tense game on the pitch tomorrow, it should prove difficult to say the least but we have beaten Everton when they have been on top form before, question is can we do it when themselves and ourselves are both in a rut of bad results?