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    Everton vs Liverpool Match Preview


    Liverpool have the chance to cut Chelsea's lead at the top of the league to six points when they play neighbours Everton in the 227th Merseyside derby on Monday night.

    Both sides recorded impressive wins in midweek with Liverpool defeating Middlesbrough 3-0 to move up to second in the table just 24 hours after Everton had come from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1.

    There will be no seasonal goodwill on display at Goodison Park on Monday as both teams attempt to head into a busy post-Christmas period with maximum points as well as securing local bragging rights.

    Everton

    Prior to Tuesday night's game against Arsenal, Everton had been on a run of only one win in 11 matches and duly spent much of the opening half standing off The Gunners while watching the away side dominate possession.

    The events off the pitch were matched in the stands as a nervous atmosphere reverberated around Goodison Park once Alexis Sanchez had given a vastly-superior Arsenal side an early lead from a free-kick.

    The inhibitions that had plagued Everton in the first-half had long been forgotten once Seamus Coleman scored a minute before half-time, allowing the home side to release the shackles that had been restricting them prior to the break.

    Everton turned the game around by increasing their workrate and aggression, while the home fans responded to their side's greater intensity and tempo by providing a raucous atmosphere for the remainder of the game.

    Ronald Koeman's team will need to show the same level of confidence and passion on Monday night if they are to make the Goodison Park faithful the all-important 12th man that it became six days ago.

    If The Toffees are to make it two wins out of two, they will need to do so without the services of captain Phil Jagielka, who was sent off in the latter stages against Arsenal, although they will be boosted by the return of Gareth Barry.

    A victory would propel Everton to seventh in the table, from their current position of ninth, although they haven't beaten their Merseyside neighbours since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta netted in a 2-0 win over six years ago.

    Liverpool

    The Reds took advantage of Everton's 2-1 win over Arsenal on Tuesday night to move into second place in the league, on goals scored, when they beat Middlesbrough at the Riverside just 24 hours later.

    A virtuoso performance from Adam Lallana was key to Liverpool's comprehensive victory with the England midfielder scoring twice, while also creating the all-important second goal for Divock Origi on the hour mark.

    Wins for Chelsea, Tottenham and both Manchester clubs over the weekend have once again cranked up the pressure on The Reds but a victory over Everton will allow the club return to second place in the table over Christmas.

    There is mixed news for Liverpool on the injury front ahead of the Merseyside derby with Joel Matip likely to remain on the treatment table along with Philippe Coutinho, although both Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can are set to return.

    Jurgen Klopp has also confirmed that Simon Mignolet will continue in goal for a second successive game after keeping a clean sheet when deputising for the dropped Loris Karius on Wednesday night.

    The game against Middlesbrough was Liverpool's third shutout in their last five matches, although the six goals conceded against Bournemouth and West Ham in that sequence cost the club five points from winning positions.

    The Reds are on a 12-match unbeaten run in Merseyside derbies, with seven of those games ending in draws, although their last four defeats against Everton have all occurred at Goodison Park.

    Everton Team News

    Ramiro Funes Mori could come back into the team to replace captain Phil Jagielka, who serves a one-match suspension following the two bookings he collected against Arsenal on Tuesday night.

    Gareth Barry may return to the starting line-up after being rested in midweek, although Aaron Lennon, Ross Barkley and Enner Valencia all performed well enough to merit keeping their places in the side.

    Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu, who were dropped after last weekend's disappointing 3-2 defeat against Watford, are set to remain on the bench for a second successive game.

    Yannick Bolasie will be out for Everton until the New Year, when he will undergo a second knee operation, while Muhamed Besic (knee) and Matthew Pennington (hamstring) are also on the sidelines.

    Liverpool Team News

    Simon Mignolet will be chosen in goal once again after Loris Karius failed to regain the place he lost following disappointing displays in the 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth and 2-2 draw against West Ham.

    Divock Origi is expected to shake off a knock in order to be available for selection but Joel Matip remains a doubt due to the ankle injury which caused him to miss the win over Middlesbrough.

    Daniel Sturridge could play some part in the match as he makes his return from a calf injury, while Emre Can should make his comeback from the knee injury which has kept him out for the last two matches.

    Marko Grujic is around a week away from a return after sustaining a tendon injury, while Liverpool must also cope for a fourth successive league game without Philippe Coutinho, who has an ankle injury.

    Head-to-head

    Liverpool have dominated the head-to-head against Everton for the past two decades having won 18 and lost only four of the past 36 matches between the sides in all competitions.

    After winning six and drawing six of the first 15 Premier League encounters, it was Everton who previously held the upper hand in the rivalry but they haven't beaten their neighbours since a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park in October 2010.

    The Reds drew 1-1 against Everton last October in Brendan Rodgers' final game as manager and the sides met again at Anfield in April when Divock Origi, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Sturridge and Phillippe Coutinho all scored in a 4-0 home win.

    In a rivalry first contested in 1894, it is Jurgen Klopp's side who also hold the advantage in terms of overall wins, with 89 victories and 73 defeats from 226 previous encounters.

    Score Prediction

    Everton 1-1 Liverpool
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    Item Reviewed: Everton vs Liverpool Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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