Good day, fellow Reds! Saturday at 7:30am EDT Liverpool make the trip across Stanley Park for the 288th Merseyside Derby at Goodison Park. Shockingly, the Blues come into the match on a perfect 12/12 points, which is good enough to be on top of the table. Liverpool are on nine points which slots them in at fifth based on goal differential. When Michael Oliver blows his whistle to start the match, the weather will be in the low 50s with a 5% chance of rain. The match can be seen here in the US on NBCSN.
Injuries & Suspensions
For the men in Red, the list is not as long as it is possibly confusing. The players who will definitely miss the match are Naby Keita (who Klopp says is out due to a fitness issue, but I am sure the uncertain result of his COVID test while has something to do with it), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), and Alisson (but is said to making progress in he rehab). Kostas Tsimikas looks to be a major doubt while still dealing with a thigh injury he picked up against Lincoln City. And closing out the list, Joel Matip could make his return after recovering from his muscle issue.
Maybe the stars are lining up for Everton for this derby, as there are no clear starters on their long-term injury list. Yerry Mina (knee) and Lucas Digne (thigh) will undergo evaluations before the game and can both feature. Defenders Mason Holgate (toe), Jarrad Branthwaite (ankle) and Jonjoe Kenny (ankle) remain out, as does Cenk Tosun (ACL).
Hooch’s History Corner
Mo Salah is looking to become the third-fastest Liverpool player to tally 100 goals for the club. He is currently on 99 in 157 appearances. The “One Season Wonder” that just can’t stop producing. Only Roger Hunt and Jack Parkinson have reached the century mark faster.
Another little nugget I found interesting is that Ian Rush is the top goal-getter for the Reds in the Merseyside Derby, netting 25 goals in the 36 matches (no surprise there). The next two players on the list? Stevie G with 10 goals in 33 matches, and Everton’s own goals tied with Stevie with 10.
The boys in Red have a gut check ahead of them tomorrow. Will the break have done them good? Or just give them more time to dwell on the 7-2 debacle against Villa? I cannot see a Klopp-coached team come out uninspired. That being said, here is how I believe they line up tomorrow.
Even though there have been shouts for Kellerher to start in goal tomorrow, there is just no way that will happen. Adrian will start in goal. At left back will be Andy Robertson. The two CBs will be Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Trent Alexander-Arnold will control the right flank – hopefully he took the break to refocus on his defense. He has been great going forward, but still needs to improve coming back the other way. Perhaps his future is in the midfield, but that is not happening this year.
It should be a physical midfield group if nothing else. Jordan Henderson, Thiago, and Fabinho should start. In this match, we will need some toughness in the middle three and they should provide that.
Up front, the three amigos should get their first start together in the derby. Sadio Mane on the Left. Bobby Firmino in the middle. And Mo Salah running down the wing. Let’s hope Bobby’s couple goals for Brazil can jump start him here!
Man of the Match and Prediction
For the MOTM, I am going with Mane. He has been a man possessed for the better part of a year and it continues tomorrow. Water finds its level. The bug never beats the windshield. And Everton do not win derbies. The Reds win 3-1 and all is right in the world.
It really is a shame though, that this match is being played amid the lockdown. Imagine the atmosphere if the stadium was packed! I get that it is only the fifth match of the season, and there is a lot of football left to be played. But damn… it would it be great to beat them in front a packed Goodison.
“Mane’s Scoring, All Around us
Kopites singin, havin’ fun
‘Tis the season, Costumes and Candy
Happy Halloween, Everton”
Questions? Comments? Think I’m wrong about anything? Let me know!