Everton will make the short trip across Stanley Park on Sunday for the Merseyside derby, looking to end a 13 year hoodoo which stretches back to 1999 and Kevin Campbell’s winner at the Kop.
Much of the talk in the build up has focused on Everton’s inability to win at Anfield, with David Moyes still looking for his first away derby win at the 12th attempt. Everton will be determined to end that record and retain hope of securing European football next season, which is more than can be said of the Reds. Liverpool’s sole focus is to overtake Everton in the table, and avoid the ignominy of finishing behind the Toffees for the second season running, a feat Everton have not achieved for over 50 years.
The travelling support are bound to be nervous, but the players must be adventurous and need to ensure that any inferiority complex has been shed in advance of kick off. After all, Liverpool are not the all conquering side of decades past, and many teams go to Anfield without any fear and return home with three points safely secured. Moyes will be determined to stop the likes of Coutinho, Liverpool’s creative source in recent weeks, and I would be surprised if the Brazilian is not put under immediate pressure by Everton’s midfield. The returning Darren Gibson is likely to give Everton a significant boost in this area, with Fellaini expected to push further forward in support of Anichebe.
Expected line-up: Howard; Coleman, Baines, Distin, Jagielka; Gibson, Osman, Mirallas, Pienaar; Fellaini, Anichebe.