“I didn’t see a big difference between teams in my first Liverpool derby in December. What I felt was a special match. They celebrated their lucky goal like it was the final of the World Cup for them.” -Marco Silva
“This could be the most one-sided Merseyside Derby ever.” -Steve Nicol
“We all know for them it is like a World Cup final.” -Jurgen Klopp
Bulletin board material is a phrase commonly used in sporting circles, taking your opponent’s confidence and arrogance and applying it to everything you do that week. In practice you sprint a little faster, in training you work a little harder, and on the pitch you play like a fire has overcome you. Everton and Jordan Pickford have been haunted by their demons against Liverpool from December sure, but also by an even greater sense of futility. No matter how the game is played, it seems a bounce always go against the Blues. The bulletin board is full this time, Jurgen Klopp has shown his arrogance yet again, and Pickford should and will be more ready for Sunday than anyone else on the field. I said in the preview for Cardiff that the result coming back from Wales would be everything, and Everton responded in kind with a 3-0 win that had the blues playing some of their best ball in months, in large part surprisingly due to Morgan Schneiderlin and Seamus Coleman. Morgan logged a full 90, and was a rock in the middle, while Seamus played some beautiful football down the wings, getting himself an assist in the process. Schneiderlin should be in the 18 again for Everton, and could be a vital sub late on, while Seamus very well looks to have won the starting spot back from Jonjoe Kenny. These are 2 guys with enough criticisms and slights to not only fill a bulletin board, but a small textbook. Their response along with the response of the team Tuesday was nothing short of excellent, It is the beginning of the opportunity for Marco Silva and the blues to show they are up for the fight, and to smash a huge hole in the side of Liverpool’s title boat. Showing up to this game will be everything, and to prove the footballing world wrong, Everton will have to conjure up the team performance that Silva knows they are capable of.
Liverpool come to Merseyside top of the league, but having seen their 10 point lead on the top shrink to only a single point. Everton come in having moved up to 9th after their win at Cardiff in the midweek, only 4 points out of the final Europa League spot. Liverpool’s outing to Watford on Wednesday was nothing short of dominant, bagging 5 in a 5-0 romping. Liverpool comes to Merseyside where Everton have had one of their worst runs of home form in recent memory, winning only 1 of their last 7. However, well rested after the long break and with a large squad of confident players to choose from, Silva could field a multitude of different lineups. Up top, Silva will likely go with DCL, who bagged a late goal against Cardiff on a clinical finish. He looked nothing short of spry and sharp in the win, and although at times his inexperience room for growth shows, he seems to be Everton’s best pure striker for now. Although he didn’t start, I would expect Bernard might be likely to get a starting nod on Sunday, after an electric 30 minute appearance as a sub on Tuesday. Richardson turned in one of, if not the worst performance of his season, and Silva could opt to start Ademola Lookman, or god forbid Theo Walcott instead. In the midfield it should go back to the usual 3 of Gylfi, Gomes and Gueye, after Gomes started the Cardiff game on the bench for a very sharp looking Morgan Schneiderlin. The back 4 of Digne, Keane, (Mina or Zouma), and Coleman that Everton is used to fielding will probably start here, with Jags returning to the bench. Liverpool will start 11 players wearing red, all of whom yer da says is shit, listen to him more often!
Everton have loaded the bulletin board this week, and looking their demons straight in the eye, are left now to get the job done. Jordan Pickford will need to put in the masterfully controlling performance everyone knows he is capable of putting in. The back four will need to be sharp, decisive, and quick on the ball. The midfield will need to link up with the attack, fluid passes and quick one two football. Gylfi will have to show up and put in a near 10/10 yet again, and Gomes and Gueye will need to anchor the team in the middle of the park, Liverpool will come out swinging early, and the first 10 minutes could be everything. Goodison needs to be a fortress on Sunday, as of late the atmosphere has been lacking, but Derby day at Goodison is truly a spectacle and getting behind the team is insanely important. It’s truly Everton against the world Sunday, nobody believes in the blues. But of course, this is nothing new, it is always Everton against the world, and that is how Merseyside likes it. Come as they will, the big red hype machine, it is well and truly finally time for Everton to get the win they deserve. Not only a win, but a win that would torpedo the shite’s chances for a title. A win changes the season, and changes the team’s entire demeanor, don’t let Klopp fool you, this is a final for everyone involved. Finally, Everton will come out on top. The blues are due, and Marco Silva’s time is now.
Prediction: Everton 2-1 Liverpool