Liverpool head into Monday’s Merseyside derby clash with Everton aiming to get back to winning ways.The Reds have claimed just one victory in 2023, having gone down to a crushing 3-0 defeat away to Wolves last Saturday. Their week went from bad to worse when it emerged that Thiago Alcantara had been ruled out for a month with a hip injury.But Jurgen Klopp could have some good news ahead of the match, as Liverpool are assessing the fitness of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese forward, 26, has been out since mid-October with a serious calf injury but is now back in training. Jota’s absence has been one of the many reasons behind the Reds’ wretched season so far, one which the players selected to face Everton at Anfield will be keen to start turning around.Although the visitors’ lack of pace could allow for James Milner to fit in comfortably, Trent Alexander-Arnold ‘s creativity is a useful tool against any side who sit deep, meaning he should keep his place at right-back despite a string ofdefensiveperformances.
In midfield, Jordan Henderson will need to put in a big performance, while Stefan Bajcetic is set to make his first Merseyside derby appearance. With Thiago out, Naby Keita will likely be handed the opportunity to impress after Mirror Football exclusively reported that AC Milan were interested in signing him on a free transfer when his contract expires in the summer.
Up front, the pressure is on Mohamed Salah to deliver as the only established attacker definitely at Klopp’s disposal. The German hopes that Jota will be in contention to feature but it’s still expected that Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, who’s yet to score or register an assist in six games for Liverpool, will complete the starting trident in attack.
Jota’s return by no means signals the end of the Reds’ injury woes. Liverpool remain without a host of stars whom Klopp gave an update on in his pre-match press conference. “The players are back in training but in different stages,” the Reds boss explained.
“Diogo is the closest he trains now normally for two days and we have three more days of training for him and he’s in contention for the squad I think. Bobby [Firmino], the next one, I don’t know. We have to see how that looks with training intensity and make a decision there. [Virgil van Dijk], I don’t think he’s that close yet. Arthur [Melo] is similar to Bobby I would say.”
Liverpool predicted line-up vs Everton (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Bajcetic, Keita; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.
The second Merseyside Derby of the season takes place on Monday when Liverpool host Everton in the Premier League.Liverpool suffered another defeat over the weekend, this time a 3-0 defeat to Wolves in a dismal display. As for Everton, the Toffees claimed an unexpected three points against Premier League leaders Arsenal, winning 1-0 in Sean Dyche’s first game.Liverpool fans were left frustrated after just one arrival in the January transfer window, but when compared to their rivals, they can’t complain. In a relegation battle, Everton sold Anthony Gordon for £45m whilst bringing in no one.READ MORE: ‘I’m right for this moment’ – Sean Dyche tells Everton what they must do to get a famous Anfield winREAD MORE: Will Spearman handed key role at Liverpool after major changes in recruitment teamBoth clubs are in worse positions than hoped heading into this one, with a win vital for both sides. The reverse fixture at Goodison Park earlier this season ended in a 0-0 draw, with Conor Coady’s second-half strike being overruled by VAR in the stalemate.
So, who will come out on top in the Merseyside derby tonight? Let’s take a look.
To complete this simulation, we used FIFA 23 and updated the squads with the latest injuries and suspensions. Recent form impacts players’ ratings in FIFA 23, so the Blues squad was lower-rated than usual heading into this simulation.
We predict that the Toffees could line up in a 4-5-1 formation, with their line-up as follows: Pickford; Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; McNeil, Doucoure, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin.
The team in high spirits at the moment, Everton came out the brighter side, with Amadou Onana striking the post after seven minutes with a long-range effort. Liverpool grew into the game as the first half went on, and after 34 minutes they took the lead through a marvellous Mohamed Salah strike.Everton lost possession in their own half, allowing the Reds to hit Dyche’s side on the break with Cody Gakpo leading the attack. The diagonal run of Darwin Nunez created space for Salah on the right, and after being picked out by Gakpo, the Egyptian curled a fantastic effort into the top corner of the net.Liverpool were controlling the possession at Anfield following the opening goal, but Nunez, Salah and Naby Keita all missed opportunities to extend the lead. Stefan Bajcetic picked out Jordan Henderson with a long ball to send the midfielder into a 50/50 with Jordan Pickford early in the second half, and a penalty was then awarded to the Reds after a foul from the ‘keeper.
The Liverpool skipper reached the ball before Pickford as he poked the ball away from the onrushing ‘keeper, and his outstretched arm pulled back . Salah stepped up to take the penalty, but his effort aimed for the top corner was fantastically saved by Pickford to keep the score at 1-0.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Toffees started to put pressure on Liverpool, winning plenty of corners to try and find an equaliser. Four consecutive corners were awarded to Dyche’s side in the 88th minute, and on the final attempt they levelled the score late on.
Demari Gray sent an out-swinging cross towards the centre of the box, tempting Alisson to charge off his line and attempt to claim the ball. But, the ‘keeper missed his punch, allowing substitute Ellis Simms to head into an empty net. It proved the last big chance of the game, and the points were shared.FIFA 23 predicts that the second Merseyside derby could end in a draw on Monday evening, with the result seemingly benefitting Everton more than Liverpool. The Reds could see more of the ball as Everton sat back and absorbed pressure, the Toffees exposed Liverpool’s vulnerability from set pieces as they headed home a late equaliser at Anfidi.