It's that time again. It feels like just yesterday Luis Suarez was diving at the feet of David Moyes. These always carry a certain level of anxiousness, probably more on the Everton side this time as a loss here puts Liverpool only two points back in the all important "I finished above you" trophy. However, as much divisiveness as this game always causes, there is an increased sense of unity throughout the city with The Kop to pay tribute to the support Everton fans have given in the pursuit of justice for the 96.
Liverpool have carried the run of Derbies having gone unbeaten in the last five of them. Surely this will be massive motivation for an Everton squad that are looking to finish strong after what has to be considered a decent run this year. In addition, Everton have not won at Anfield for a long long time, 14 years to be exact. With this potentially being Moyes' last shot at a cross town win and Fellani's also as well as slim hopes of a Champion's League place, Everton should be massively motivated.
However, they are coming off a win against Fulham, but the week before they endured an extremely disappointing and lackluster performance which saw them lose 1-0 to Sunderland. Everton appear to be entering their end of season slump where the lack of depth seems to catch up with them and they begin to look leggy. This is a good time to play them, but in all reality you might as well throw everything you think or predict out the window. After all, it is the Derby.
Liverpool too have motivation. While Carra may have grown up a blue, his heart is surely red now and this will be his last Merseyside Derby. I'm sure Rodgers will cap off his pregame speech with a "do it for Carra" instead of the usual do it for Lucas. Liverpool are coming off an absolute thrashing of Newcastle. The real question though will be if they can maintain their composure and repeat that performance or if they will let it go to their heads.
As usual, expect a scrappy affair with a red card very likely. If Liverpool can continue their fantastic movement in attack, they could be a real handful for a tired Everton. Lucas might be the key though, he will have to play a bit higher than usual in order to fill the large gap that seems to develop between him and the rest of the attacking core. If no one fills that gap, it might be an easy day for Fellani to sit in there and control the game.
Missing in action will obviously be Suarez for Liverpool so unfortunately we won't see a repeat of the greatest goal celebration ever. Otherwise, its the other usual suspects who have been injured for most of the season. Raheem Sterling might be ready to go, but that remains to be seen. Even if he is, this might not be the game to bring him back. Everton are also waiting on a fitness test for Darren Gibson after he sustained some sort of hip or thigh problem.
It will be nerves until the end and poor challenges abound. Prediction, 3-1 Liverpool.