6 Feb 2015

LFC line-up vs. Everton: Surprise changes ahead? £46m-duo out? More humiliation for Lovren?

With only one defeat in thirteen games, Liverpool are flying at the moment, and the hard-fought midweek FA Cup victory over Bolton is a huge confidence boost going into this weekend's crunch-clash with Everton.

Conversely, Everton have achieved only one win in nine games, and the pressure is on for manager Roberto Martinez as the Blues hover perilously close to the relegation zone.

Form usually goes out the window in Merseyside derby's, though, and despite Everton's dire recent form, there's no room for complacency.

Everton arrested their slide last week with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, and playing at home may give Martinez's team a slight edge over Liverpool.

That said, Liverpool have lost only three of the last ten games at Goodison, which suggests that the Reds have a great chance of picking up another positive result.

If results go the right way, Liverpool could end this weekend just a couple of points off fourth place, which will represent a massive turnaround from earlier in the season.

The big question for the game is obvious: Should Daniel Sturridge start, or remain on the bench? In my view, he should stay on the sidelines and only come on if he's needed. Liverpool are playing well, so there's no immediate need to risk him in such a physical game. I expect to see the following line-up:

------------------- Mignolet

------- Can -------- Skrtel ----- Sakho

Johnson ----- Hendo ------- Lucas ---- Moreno

-------------- Gerrard - Coutinho

-------------------- Sterling

* Rodgers may go for experience here, and Johnson is more robust, and more experienced that Markovic.

* On Thursday, Rodgers told reporters "Dejan Lovren and Mario Balotelli were out for last night, Lucas Leiva was out as well. There's nobody definitely ruled out, but we'll see how they are tomorrow.". It would certainly be a shock to see Lovren and Balotelli in the starting line-up, and with Rodgers, you never know. I wouldn't put it past him to make such a decision.

* On the other hand, if Lovren is dumped from the squad yet again, then his humiliation will continue. He didn't make the cut for lower-league Bolton, and I doubt he's happy at Anfield right now.

* Lallana didn't do enough against Bolton to retain his position in the starting line-up. His season continues to be a disappointment, and the £26m Liverpool paid looks increasingly ridiculous.

Ex-Red Jamie Redknapp expects Liverpool to win the game, but he's wary of the potential impact of new signing Aaron Lennon. He told Sky Sports today:

"Lennon can cause anyone problems because he’s pacey and direct and he can feed Lukaku some chances [but] I reckon Liverpool will win a tight game by one goal. These games are always tough to call but I reckon Liverpool will just nick it".

Mark Lawrenson took a more cautious approach, and predicting a 1-1 draw, he told the BBC:

"The last thing Everton will want to do is to pile forward and leave themselves open to counter-attacks.
A point would do them very well, and I think it is the same for Liverpool, even though they are in much better form".

My prediction: 2-2



  1. 1-3. Johnson hat trick.

  2. Apparently Lucas ,Markovic and Lallana will not be fit.
    So it think we have to choose lesser of two evils concerning Johnson and Allen. If Lucas is not fit , Emre Can should be moved to midfield his performance vs Bolton dictates that. Rather then johnson at Right Wing back i would put Jordon Ibe,Rodgers said he bought him back because he can play 4 positions in new formation presuming he means CAM and Wing back. Something like this will be nice:

  3. C'mon Lovren needs to be given a chance on the right side of the defensive trio. Push Can in defensive midfield. He obviously was humiliated quite enough, this is bellow him

  4. Ibe v Mirallas? don't know about that one.

  5. I agree, though I suspect we'll see Gerrard deep, Ibe (or Sterling) at AM, (Borini/Lambert up top if the latter), and Can and Johnson at RB/RCB

  6. Christ, I hope not.

  7. Lovren was injured against Bolton.

  8. Rodgerd said 'Lovren was out' for Bolton; he didn't say injured. How can he be injured when he hasn't played for weeks?

  9. Always a heated fixture. Would not surprise me if we see at least one red card tomorrow.

  10. Lovren didn't play vs bolton.

  11. He could have been injured in training. It has been heard of ;-/

  12. 0-2 for me. A brace for Allen

  13. I'm not saying he was injured but how many times have people been injured in training? It's relatively common.

  14. I like this as an option compared to the alternative. Assuming those players are all injured.

  15. Ya that's true but Mirallas is fairly aggressive and Ibe is so young,but I do hope he gets a chance and I'm really rooting for him to do well, let's hope.

  16. Reds 3 1 Bitters

    Another bruising contest coming our way, but the Redmen will prevail. Tough call on whether to start Sturridge or not. I believe he'll come off the bench, but this time a bit earlier between the 55th and 60th minute (if needed).

  17. The context reminds me so much of last season's LFC - Everton. We were just picking up pace with 4 wins in our last 5 after the turn of the year and our 2 defeats in a row against Man City and Chelsea. The game also came after an FA Cup win (against Bournemouth) and people didn't really know what to expect especially as most of us were dissapointed we hadn't signed anyone in the transfer market.
    We comprehensively destroyed Everton 4-0 and then went on THAT run of games. A good win tomorrow and I can see it having a similar effect on our top 4 challenge.
    Everton 0 - 3 Liverpool.

    And now that i've said all this we'll lose, of course ;-)

  18. Roberto Martinez is someone I admired after his last season heroics. Not sure what went wrong this season. I feel Everton squad, except for 2-3 players, has always been very average but they tend to over achieve everytime. This season..reality has struck in along with some ageing players. My prediction: 1-2. Gerrard and Sturridge to score.

  19. Training? Sturridge is an expert at training injuries

  20. Perhaps get him a trench coat & a matching hat. Go go gadget neck! He's got that unassuming persona of a 21st century inspector gadget.

  21. I still think he's a definitive option in the defensive trio alongside Skrtel and Sakho, I always thought Rodgers imagined Can further up the pitch. Lovren needs to be given a chance and what better timing than the derby :)

  22. Even though Lallana is a good player, we should have never signed him. He was never neeeded! We could have just given the likes of Ibe and Teixeira a chance to prove themselves this season and given a miss on Balotelli and spent £41m to find someone to fill Suarez boots.

    Lovren without a doubt ain't happy. Maybe we should see whether he is more comfortable playing alongside Sakho. They looked adept playing alongside each other vs Spurs earlier this season. Few shaky moments but they did well and we played a high defensive line in that game and did not concede.

  23. Why play Johnson as a CB when he isn't one? Plus he cannot defend to save his life.

  24. I agree spot on, Sakho-Lovren partnership could prove the answer they play similar and complement each other :)