Liverpool may enter the Anfield installment of the Merseyside derby with the superior league position, but their visitors are in exceptional form and pose very real threat to the hosts’ top-four ambitions.
1 April 2017
Match Day 30
Kick-off: 13h30 (GMT 2)
Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: S. Bennett, A. Nunn
Fourth official: M. Atkinson
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Liverpool 186 73 61 52
Everton 186 52 61 73
Everton 0 – 1 Liverpool 20 December 2016 (Premier League)
Liverpool goalscorer: Sadio Mane (90’)
Players to watch:
Few could have guessed the impact Sadio Mane would have at Anfield when his transfer was announced at the start of the season. The Senegal international was instrumental in Southampton’s excellent 2015/16 season, but it's fair to say that under Jurgen Klopp, Mane has been a revelation. The 24-year old has scored 12 goals so far this season – a tremendous return for a winger – and provided six more assists.
Everton will be looking to Romelu Lukaku to give them the ultimate going-away present in their last nine matches of the season. The Belgium international, who seems destined to depart Goodison Park come the end of the season – is the league's top scorer and his form suggests he's not finished adding to his current tally of 21 goals.
Klopp on the derby: "I didn't need a second to understand how important this game is. Tomorrow the world stops for 90 minutes in a city." ? pic.twitter.com/NRrn8C2cWJ
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 31, 2017
Team form and manager quotes:
The Reds have recovered well from the surprise loss to Leicester City four matches ago; a team with less resilience and confidence could well have seen their momentum disrupted by having a relegation-threatened side hammer in three goals.
Jurgen Klopp has brought a sense of calm to Anfield that has seen them put the disappointing result behind them and take seven points from a possible nine – the only dropped points being from a respectable draw away against Manchester City.
Despite this only being his second year in England, the significance of the derby is not lost on Klopp.
"Maybe I’m a genius at understanding derbies," he told reporters at a pre-match press conference. "I didn't need a second to realise how important this fixture is.
"It's this moment when the world around us stops for 90 minutes. That's good. We love to think football is the most important thing," he added.
The Toffees find themselves only six points and three positions behind their bitter rivals and know that if they manage to pull off a surprise victory, they will leapfrog both Arsenal and Manchester United into fifth position.
Ahead of the fixture the Everton boss has bemoaned the lack of intervention from both James McCarthy and the Ireland national setup for failing to protect the midfielder from injury during the recent international break.
"It was a final decision against the medical staff of Ireland and also against the medical staff of Everton," Koeman told reporters. "And there are two people responsible for that.
"One is the player by himself. Finally, if he says, ‘Yes. I’m fit’, okay, but even the player needs protection from the manager and, once again, they didn't give that protection to the player," the 54-year old added.
Liverpool are likely to have regained the services of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino but are without form midfielder Adam Lallana (thigh) and club captain Jordan Henderson (foot).
Everton are without Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), James McCarthy (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (broken leg) and Morgan Schneiderlin (calf).
Preparing for the derby… ⚽️??? pic.twitter.com/qEIid1jyy4
— Ross Barkley (@RBarkley20) March 30, 2017