Go Again: The Everton Preview

Ian Walton

Liverpool welcome bitter Rivals Everton to Mecca on Tuesday to highlight a round of midweek fixtures.

US: 3 PM EST-NBC Sports

UK: 8 PM GMT-BT Sport

Liverpool welcome our crosstown rivals Everton to Anfield on Tuesday, in a crunch tie which might give the winner an extra push to find what they need in order to win the battle for 4th place.

Our injuries have been well documented going into this match, and while the list is long, Liverpool will see we need to improve with what we've got, and that may include Joe Allen, whose fitness will be tested before the game.

Another on the comeback trail is Jon Flanagan, who played the last bit of our win against Bournemouth in the cup, is tipped to make a return to full first team action in the Derby.

Our ability to win ugly has been tested over the past couple weeks... We did it at Stoke, but then fell short in a truly embarrassing performance against Aston Villa, which led Brendan Rodgers to say we would be miles better than that in the following league game here. But in the game against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, the game would end up a scrap. We won, but had to use our best players in Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, and Luis Suarez to claim passage to the next round.

This is slightly disheartening if you're a fan of the Reds, but our form in recent derbies has been nothing to be sad about. The last five results have produced three draws and two Liverpool wins, with Everton only taking the share of the spoils once in the last ten games.

Jordan Henderson is looking forward to it, with Hendo saying he is fast becoming "emotionally attached" to Liverpool as a whole. As a result, the young lad seems to be absolutely buzzing for the game, and this is exactly what you want going into a game of this magnitude.

Another point well documented is our shortcomings in defense. But Kolo Toure eyes improving on that front, and has also looked to the SAS as potential match winners.

For the visitors, they've won three of their last six, and sit in 6th position in the table, but are only a point behind us. They needed to drop points against West Brom in order for us to remain in 4th place after the draw against Villa, in a match which finished 1-1.

They've brought in Irishman Aiden McGeady on the wing, as their style has continued to change from grafting under David Moyes, to slick, free flowing football under Roberto Martinez, not unlike their crosstown rivals in red.

Despite this, they can also get stuck in and play the occasional long ball to Romelu Lukaku, who's also a player we need to watch. He'll be sure to give our defense all they can handle after their recent struggles against Peter Crouch of Stoke and Christian Benteke of Aston Villa.

Some thoughts:

-I'm dreading Skrtel playing here... With the way he likes to wrestle, we've all said he's gonna give away a penalty in a big game. I'm afraid tomorrow is the day. (JAceKopite16)

-It still looks like Kolo helping out Skrts in the backline after BR confirmed Mama Sakho will be out for another two to three weeks, but I'm hoping Flannerto Carlos can shine as he did at Goodison and White Hart Lane on what looks to be his return from injury. (JAceKopite16)

-The club is still in fourth place but the past few weeks have seemed to take some of the wind out of our sails.  No signings, mounting injuries, and an imbalanced midfield has not seen us kick on from Christmas.  This, as if it hasn't been said enough, is big. (Matt)

-I think we'll be in trouble if we hope the Gerrard-Hendo axis will suffice.  To think the derby is the match when everything will come together would be foolhardy.  Then again, if Allen is out, in addition to Lucas, I honestly don't know what the other option is. (Matt)

-Maybe that's what Bournemouth was about.  Coutinho in a clear central berth made it a 4-2-3-1, but putting Sturridge or Suarez wide right burns. (Matt)

-On the positive side, Flanagan being fit gives us a much better chance at the back.  Even at 70% he's better than Cissokho. (Matt)

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