So, it’s derby week. But who has the better team this time around? We take a look.
Expected line ups are difficult for this one, Everton now have a squad for once and Liverpool like to chop and change. Here’s my attempt:
Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, McCarthy, Barry, Pienaar, Osman, Lukaku
Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Cissoko, Henderson, Gerrard, Lucas, Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez
Barkley in for Osman. Deulofeu in for Pienaar or Osman.
Sakho at left-back instead of Cissokho. Possible appearance from Joe Allen. Victor Moses could come into the attack somewhere.
A lot of Blues give Howard a lot of stick, but in my opinion he’s a solid enough keeper and looking at other keepers so far this season, he isn’t half bad. Yet to have clanger after 11 games in, hopefully he hasn’t been waiting until now.
Outstanding for Sunderland last season and duly picked up by Liverpool in the summer for £9 million. From what I saw (Liverpool on tele every week) he started off quite nervously and flappy, but in recent weeks has returned to being top notch.
Howard 8 V Mignolet 8
I believe that Coleman hasn’t hit the heights he achieved last season just yet. It seems his attacking isn’t really leading to anything and his defensive side seems to have gone backwards recently. Saying that, he’s still a decent premier league right-back.
This is a tough one for me, because whenever I have seen him, he has been poor. I just don’t rate him. Speaking to Liverpool fans on a forum this week for our ‘Talking to the Opposition‘ article though has shown me that they really rate him across the park, so I guess I will give them and him the benefit of the doubt.
Coleman 8 V Johnson 8
England missed Jagielka against Chile. He showed against Germany his experience and qualities, covering up for endless mistakes from Smalling. He actually looked comfortable on the ball at time too. While he’s not been at his absolute best in every game this season for the Blues, he’s still a fantastic defender.
The man that was about to be shipped away from Anfield seems to have revitalised his place and career at Liverpool. Has put some solid displays so far and is never shy to throw in some sly digs in previous derbies.
Jagielka 8 V Skrtel 8
After aforementioned article where we spoke to Liverpool fans on forum ‘Red and White Kop’, it seems that quite a lot of Reds feel Distin is a weak point with him being 35. What they don’t see every week is that the milkman is still one of our quickest players. The bigger worry is whether this will be ‘one of his games’ where he has a shocker coming from absolutely nowhere.
After summer transfer speculation passing by, Agger remained in a red shirt. A top defender, although he has struggled against physical strikers recently. Lukaku anyone?
Distin 8 V Agger 8
Baines hasn’t been at the top of his game so far this season. He did miss Pienaar for the month and a half he was injured so hopefully we’ll see a rampaging Baines this weekend and up until January where the inevitable transfer speculation will really pick up. Still the best left-back in the league.
I have yet to see him play in a Liverpool shirt. Performances at Lyon and Valencia seem to match early reports from kopites. Pacy and strong going forward but maybe a little bit suspect at the back.
Baines 9 V Cissokho 7
This is a strange one. While actually being joint top of the assist table so far and having a couple of unlucky moments that could have provided even more, Evertonians will rightly tell you that he hasn’t hit top form yet. Still, he’s a game changer and hopefully this weekend will be his time to shine.
A hard comparison to Mirallas as he’s not the same type of player. General football fans still sigh when Henderson enters the pitch for England but he’s one of those that goes under noticed. His pressing all over the pitch and drive with the ball gives him a real underrated place in Liverpool’s side.
Mirallas 8 V Henderson 8
Proving his doubters wrong. In my personal opinion he still hasn’t justified £13 million as he needs to do more with the ball when he gets it but if he develops like Martinez wants, he’ll be a bargain and a long term career at Everton will follow. One booking away from a suspension, he’ll definitely get one this weekend so hopefully it’s a good one (on Suarez).
Similar to McCarthy. Not afraid to put the tackles in and will pick the ball up but lay it off simply to the more accomplished passer in Gerrard. Plays a key part in keeping the defence protected.
McCarthy 8 V Lucas 8
As he is currently disregarded from the international setup, Barry has had two weeks to prepare with Martinez. Hopefully Barry is his ever-present self and throws in the tackles while also starting off our attacks. I laughed when them across the park tried to buy him after Alonso, now I’m not laughing as much, I see his qualities. Alonso was still a class above like.
I might get some abuse here but I do feel he isn’t the world class player he was a few years ago. He’s still a very good player and is bound to put in a quality performance this weekend, as he always does.
Barry 8 V Gerrard 8.5
Since his return from injury he’s shown hints of form but in no long spells. Pienaar usually ‘gets’ the derby and puts his weight about as best as he can. Could do with him being on the same wavelength as Baines come Saturday.
Quality. Recovering from injury so it’s unsure whether he’s at his absolute best yet but if he is, the home side should be wary. His influence on the Liverpool team is immense, he instantly gives them quality in the final third.
Pienaar 8 V Coutinho 9
Not as bad as every Evertonian seems to be making out at the minute. Then again, saying that, I don’t think he deserves to be starting. With Barkley you still feel like he could do something to change the game. He still offers beating a man or two, it’s just whether his decision making turns up.
C*nt. Amazing player though.
Osman 7 V Suarez 9.5
Had a couple of quiet weeks. Seems to enjoy playing against Liverpool after scoring against them in both fixtures last season. Please turn up for this game, Rom.
Scores goals. While not the all round player and arguably far too greedy, he still gets the goals that have helped propel Liverpool to sit in second come Saturday.
Lukaku 8 V Sturrdige 8
Everton = 88
Liverpool = 90
This just about corresponds to the current league position of both teams and the money spent in previous years.
Both teams will be desperate for the win and with Everton’s great record at home in the past year but Liverpools great record in derbies for a long period, who knows which way this one will go…