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    Liverpool vs Everton Match Preview


    Both Liverpool and Everton will be looking to continue their recent upturns in form when the two sides come face-to-face at Anfield on Sunday in the 229th Merseyside derby.

    The Reds celebrated qualification into the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2008-09 in midweek courtesy of a 7-0 thrashing of Russian champions Spartak Moscow.

    The blue half of the city, meanwhile, enjoyed their first European victory of the season on Thursday night and have now won three successive games since humiliating back-to-back defeats against Atalanta and Southampton.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool have been in scintillating form since the disappointing 4-1 defeat to Tottenham on October 22, with nine wins and two draws from 11 matches completing a marvelous turnaround in fortunes.

    Jurgen Klopp's side have scored a remarkable 32 goals to their opponents' six in that sequence, while the draws against Sevilla and Chelsea were only the result of conceding 93rd and 85th-minute equalisers respectively.

    Wednesday's 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow, which earned The Reds top spot in Group E and took the club's tally of goals in the Champions League group stages to 23, was the second time they have scored seven goals in the competition this season.

    One man who inevitably put his name on the scoresheet was top scorer Mohamed Salah, whose 18 goals mean he has already scored four more times by December than any Liverpool player has managed during any of the previous three seasons.

    Last weekend's 5-1 victory over Brighton was the club's fifth victory from the last six Premier League outings, which came despite Klopp's policy of resting players after a hectic schedule of matches over recent weeks.

    Simon Mignolet and Jordan Henderson, who were the latest players to be rotated in midweek, are expected to return on Sunday but Alberto Moreno and Joel Matip are unavailable due to injury.

    Another win on Sunday would elevate Liverpool to third in the table, ahead of defending champions Chelsea, while the club could also gain ground on second-place Manchester United who host neighbours City later in the day.

    Everton

    Everton were widely regarded as dark horses to finish in the top-four at the start of the season after the club spent £152.9 million in the transfer window, with the return of Wayne Rooney on a free transfer arguably the biggest coup of the summer.

    One of the reasons for the huge influx, however, was to compensate for the absence of four players due to long-term injuries, with Ross Barkley, Yannick Bolasie, Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori all ruled out for the foreseeable future.

    Only goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, however, of the club's big-money signings has been an unqualified success, although Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michael Keane and Davy Klaasen are gradually beginning to find their feet after a difficult start to the campaign.

    The Toffees did manage to recoup £109.75 million on the sale of players despite their huge outlay, including last season's top scorer Romelu Lukaku for £75 million, but failed to replace the Belgian with a recognised centre-forward.

    The lack of an out-and-out striker has been one of the main reasons why Everton have struggled so far this campaign, with the club having to rely heavily of the previously out-of-favour Oumar Niasse and 20-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

    It took caretaker manager David Unsworth four matches to earn his first victory, following the October sacking of Ronald Koeman, and the former Everton defender duly handed over the reigns to Sam Allardyce following a 4-0 win over West Ham in late-November.

    After three successive clean sheets, it appears that Allardyce's appointment has already seen a positive effect but a far greater examination awaits the former England boss on Sunday when he faces Liverpool for the first time in a Merseyside derby.

    Liverpool Team News

    Liverpool will be without the services of two of the club's first choice back-four on Sunday, with Alberto Moreno expected to be absent for six weeks with an ankle injury and Joel Matip still out with a muscle problem.

    Adam Lallana returns after picking up a knock against Chelsea last month, on his only appearance of the season to date, but the former Southampton midfielder is only likely to feature as a substitute despite the club's rotation policy in recent matches.

    Simon Mignolet should replace Loris Karius in goal after the Belgian was rested in midweek, while Trent Alexander-Arnold could come in for Joe Gomez and captain Jordan Henderson is also expected to return.

    Besides Moreno and Matip, the only other players currently on the sidelines are defender Nathaniel Clyne (back), midfielder Marko Grujic (fractured finger) and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan (knee) due to respective injuries.

    Everton Team News

    Everton are likely to revert to a similar line-up to the one which triumphed 2-0 over Huddersfield Town last weekend having made 11 changes in Thursday night's Europa League match against Apollon Limassol.

    Phil Jagielka is back in the squad having missed the previous two Premier League games due to a knock, while Michael Keane could return to the starting line-up after coming on as a late substitute last Saturday.

    Leighton Baines, meanwhile, sustained a calf muscle problem in the 4-1 loss to Southampton and is still not ready to return and he is joined on the sidelines by goalkeeper Martin Stekelenburg, who is absent with a groin injury.

    Ross Barkley (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (broken leg), Yannick Bolasie (knee) and Ramiro Funes Mori (knee cartilage), who are all yet to feature so far this season, remain long-term absentees.

    Head-to-head

    Everton are without a win in their past 14 Merseyside derbies, with their last victory coming at Goodison Park in October 2010 when Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta scored the goals in a 2-0 win.

    The Toffees did managed to draw seven of those 14 encounters but have lost their past three meetings, which includes a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park in December 2016 and a 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture in April 2017.

    There have been 50 Merseyside derbies in total since the start of the Premier League in 1992, with The Reds winning 22 times, Everton coming out on top on nine occasions and 19 matches ending in draws.

    Liverpool also lead the way in terms of overall meetings having won 91 of the previous 228 Merseyside derbies in all competitions, while Everton have been victorious a total of 66 times and 71 matches between the two sides have been drawn.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 3-1 Everton
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs Everton Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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