Looking ahead to an intriguing Merseyside derby

It’s English football’s longest-running top-flight derby and on Sunday, Liverpool and Everton meet once again for Merseyside bragging rights.

Ahead of this weekend’s Merseyside derby showdown, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, an effervescent attacking force in the Premier League so far this season, head in as the favourites.

Everton have endured a torrid campaign so far but, following the appointment of Sam Allardyce late last month, which has heralded back-to-back wins, Sunday’s clash is far from a gimme.

We’ve taken a look at the key factors that could decide who claims the Merseyside bragging rights this time around.

Rocking Reds

Liverpool’s forward line are much-feted and rightly so – more often than not, they’ve been sensational this season.

(Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs)

Summer signing Mohamed Salah has stormed to the top of the Premier League scoring charts during a blistering start to his Anfield career while fellow wide forward Sadio Mane possesses similar show-stopping pace and finishing ability.

Add in the guile of Roberto Firmino and the verve of Phillipe Coutinho, and the Reds have every chance of feasting on an Everton back line containing youngsters such as Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny.

The new manager effect

If there’s any manager that relishes upsetting the odds, it’s the Toffees’ new manager Sam Allardyce, who has made an impressive start to life at the Goodison Park helm.

(Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith)

Shortly before his appointment was officially confirmed, the former England boss saw his side thrash West Ham 4-0 and at the weekend, Allardyce guided them to a 2-0 triumph over Huddersfield.

The Everton chief has even opted not to travel to his team’s dead rubber Europa League group stage tie at Apollon Limassol on Thursday as he bids to cook up a game plan to stop Liverpool in his tracks.

Can the Toffees bank on the fabled new manager effect to boost their chances?

How they arrive

These two teams enter the derby off the back of wholly differing weeks.

(Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith)

Liverpool are likely to throw everything into their crucial Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow tonight, with Klopp’s troops needing to avoid defeat to qualify for the last 16 while a victory would see them top Group E irrespective of how Sevilla fare at Maribor.

Conversely, Everton are expected to rest all of their biggest stars for their Europa League game against Apollon, with former Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare – Allardyce’s new assistant manager – taking charge of a scratch squad made up of youngsters in Cyprus.

Perhaps the intensity of a competitive midweek match will have Liverpool firing on all cylinders or will extra time on the training ground benefit Everton’s senior players?


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