Firstly, whenever a team changes manager, there’s always a short-term reaction, regardless of how things pan out in the long-term. That’s just a fact. Everton have won two on the bounce, although they were two very winnable matches.
However, Allardyce is a special breed of manager. And that’s not a compliment. He revels in annoying people and his ‘brand’ of football is an entirely appropriate reflection of his aggressive, no-nonsense character.
He’ll be loving the fact that he has an opportunity to deliver a first Everton league win at Anfield in about 16 years or so. He’s that kind of guy. And credit where it’s due, he does know how to organize a defence, so his credentials will be put to the test if Liverpool’s fab four rock up. We’ve been scoring goals for fun recently, as demonstrated in the 7-0 win in midweek.
Keep an eye on the dugouts for this one. Klopp and Fat Sam famously fell out last year. With neither gaffer the shrinking violet type, I’m expecting fireworks. I’m expecting goals, cards, mistakes, brilliance… just about everything, really.
They say form goes out the window in derbies. That might be true, but there’s no overlooking the standards Liverpool have set in the league recently. We’ve worked our way back into the top four and we simply have to stay there.
Our league ambitions are over and the Reds should be concentrating on staying the Champions League places and enjoying a good FA Cup run. Amusingly, thanks to the third round draw, we’ll have a chance to do this all again in less than a month.
Most Feared Opposition
Wayne Rooney, I guess. But not because of skill, I might add. More due to the nature of football law. If fans tend to dislike a player, he’ll surely score.
Predicted Started XI
I’m no doctor, but Moreno’s Champions League injury looked fairly serious. I’m assuming that Milner will deputise. Mignolet will come in for Karius and Alexander-Arnold for Gomez.
It was interesting to see our captain sitting on the bench for such a huge game against Spartak, but presumably Henderson will return for the derby. And, of course, I’m crossing my fingers that our front four are able to all feature against the Toffees.
Both teams enter this game in good form, so the sensible prediction here would be a draw. I think Allardyce will manage to blunt Liverpool’s attack somewhat and we’ll have to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Both teams might be in form, but we’re in better form. And realistically, Everton will have issues coping with our attacking quartet (should they all play). If I were Mane, Firmino, Coutinho or Salah, I’d be licking my lips at the prospect of sprinting at this Everton defence.