No matter what has happened in recent derbies, many of us, including myself, become like a child eagerly awaiting Christmas when it comes to derby day. So it’s quite apt that the first Merseyside derby of the new regime falls on the first weekend of advent.
“Records exist to be broken”, said Marco Silva in his pre-derby press conference. I don’t need to remind you of any stats of Everton’s record in recent years against our rivals across Stanley Park as I’m sure you’ve lived them all, but here’s an interesting one that hopefully will not be broken any time soon: Marco Silva is unbeaten in the Premier League against Jurgen Klopp, and is the only manager with that status who has played a Klopp side more than once.
Not to massively hype this one up, but it feels like the best chance we’ve had in at least a couple of years of beating them. Everton go into the game on a fine run of form, with Liverpool not quite at top gear and coming off the back of a difficult European defeat in midweek.
The core of the Everton squad has shifted, so that ‘red-shite-phobia’ has been taken out with the rubbish. Marco Silva has all week emphasised the ‘no fear’ approach which his side will take at Anfield, and the new recruits who have massively impressed in recent weeks have faced much bigger and better sides than this Liverpool one in their time.
The way the club has moved forward, you also expect that discipline will not be as much of a problem as it has been in the past, with a new or young player often sent off for trying too hard. Everton are a more professional outfit this season, and Silva will be keen for his side to let their football do the talking rather than the challenges.
In terms of team news, the only potential change is the much-awaited start for Ademola Lookman, who has been incredibly positive whenever he has come onto the pitch since getting his head down after a distracted summer, and perhaps showed the other wingers in the side how it’s done. Silva has been keen to keep the side the same in recent weeks, but admitted in his press conference that the youngster has done more than enough to warrant his place in the starting line-up.
The major absence of the opponents is the suspension of Jordan Henderson. Their captain won’t play a part in the game after being sent off against Watford last week, but his absence may do so. Everton’s midfield has been arguably our strongest area in the last few weeks, with Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye excelling together and Gylfi Sigurdsson finding his prime form in front of them. If Everton are to beat Liverpool, this is the area it will be done. Personal opinion, but their midfield is not as good as ours.
The pace of Everton going forward will be matched with a Liverpool back-line which can run also, but I’ve been dreaming of Bernard nutmegging Trent Alexander-Arnold and squaring the ball to Richarlison for a tap-in, who then starts a Lee Carsley-esque piley on in front of the Kop, all week.
Let’s make it a dream come true this time please, Blues.