Seamus Coleman: undergoes a late check on his recovery from concussion
What has become arguably the most dreaded fixture on the calendar swings around again this weekend and falls, by a quirk of fate, exactly 15 years to the day since Everton's last victory at Anfield.
Kevin Campbell's solitary strike on 27 September 1999 remains the last winner scored by an Everton player on Liverpool's ground and the years since have been a mixture of defiant draws and abject capitulations during which time the Toffees have seen more red cards than goals.
As we know from two bitter decades of failure at Old Trafford, these winless runs on opposition grounds can be perpetuated to inexplicable lengths, fed by a combination of form, inequality of resources and psychology. But the longer this particular one drags on, you feel that by the law of averages alone, the Blues are due a win.
Last season's 4-0 drubbing was an aberration amongst some impressive performances by Roberto Martinez's Everton on the grounds of the old Sky Four. It was a result heavily influenced by a confluence of injury and fitness problems in key areas of the Blues' team on the one hand and an unbridled display of counter-attacking football from the reds.
The same scenario is unlikely to play out again — there is no Luis Suarez this time for one, and Daniel Sturridge is a doubt for Brendan Rodgers — even given Everton's awful defensive form of late. There is also the possibility that John Stones could be deployed in the right-back role in which he has struggled in a Blue shirt (and did so in this fixture back in January) but you would hope that wariness and preparation that comes from being once bitten will preclude a repeat mauling.
This particular edition of the Merseyside derby actually sees both managers searching for defensive solidity and with Everton's potentially potent forward line benefitting from rest for Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas over the past week, it could make for an entertaining contest.
Seamus Coleman continues to be the main injury concern for Martinez since he was withdrawn from the Wolfsburg match with a concussion. He has missed the last two games but is in with a shout of being passed fit for this weekend. Should he be ruled out again, he would be a huge miss, not least because of his attacking and defensive talents and the fact that his return would allow Stones to move back into the centre.
In goal, there have been murmurings on Merseyside that Tim Howard's erratic recent form might have opened the door for Joel Robles, although they remain just rumours and with Steven Pienaar likely to miss out again, the only other question mark concerns midfield. Again, much could depend on whether Coleman plays — given the deficiencies in Aiden McGeady's defensive game, the manager may opt for a more conservatively-minded player like Leon Osman or Muhamed Besic (his ability to attract cards like a magnet notwithstanding) that would allow a front three of Steven Naismith, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku to do their thing up front.
Martinez has vowed not to compromise his attacking instincts, saying his team will "never change our focus, we always want to win. If you can't win, draw, fine, but we will never set out a team to try to draw a game or just hope for a win." That will hopefully signal goals for the Blues — it's at the other end where things will hinge.
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Reader Comments (57)
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1 Posted 27/09/2014 at 06:13:11
I’d be astonished if Robles plays as he seems to be even less confident than Howard in his few outings. No mean achievement. Neither is good enough for a team with any pretension of going forwards.
I don’t believe that form goes out of the window for these games. Of course, there are occasional upsets but generally the game goes to the better team and this year, that’s us in my view.
Unless Mr Atkinson vies with Clive Thomas and Clattenburg for the title of Biggest Weapon to have officiated the fixture,we’re in with a good shout.
2 Posted 27/09/2014 at 06:27:30
3 Posted 27/09/2014 at 06:43:24
Losing it, getting wound up already and still six hours to go.
4 Posted 27/09/2014 at 06:35:14
Browning is a faster RB than Stones but both will be bogged down with complicated instructions, causing them to be nervous and hesitant.
Ossie is making big noises about this game but I hope he doesn't start. I also hope we are not talking about the referee on the live forum. See you all later.
5 Posted 27/09/2014 at 07:38:00
6 Posted 27/09/2014 at 07:41:33
Normally I would be saying have a go, but we saw what happened last season when we did. They play on the counter and don't actually do anything with the ball if you give them possession.
Why we have such a terrible record, who knows. Two seasons ago, Wembley and the game at their place just before it, we were way better than them. We were going well, Dalglish was having a mare in charge, and we didn't show up.
This time, please boys, get it right.
Come on. Lets fucking do this.
7 Posted 27/09/2014 at 07:46:48
8 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:02:41
9 Posted 27/09/2014 at 07:54:59
10 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:02:35
11 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:10:06
It was him that sent off Rodwell after cheating rat face conned him, perhaps that might still be at the back of his mind somewhere and hopefully he wont be taken in when Sterling starts falling over.
That might be a long shot right enough.
12 Posted 27/09/2014 at 07:59:33
13 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:07:33
14 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:16:59
I need to go out to a place where it’s dark and quiet, I am going to try and resist the temptation of finding watching it, grrrr I just can’t sit and watch another skullfucking.
Reading the Echo again last night, Jagielka coming it big with all the usual pre-match mumbo jumbo of "the bus was silent on the trip home in January ,that won’t happen again"
I don’t want words I just want us to win, I can’t believe that I have almost forgotten what it was like to celebrate a victory at Anfield, a generation of Evertonians of a younger age have never even witnessed it.
I have looked at team news, Liverpool have doubts over Henderson, Coutinho, Sturridge expected to make the bench but Johnson, Flanagan are both out.
We can only hope Coleman makes it because for me we are nit the same team when Coleman is missing, Stones offers nothing going forward and frankly just looks like a fish washed upon the shore.
Hibbert has to be the obvious choice but even his lack of football is a major worry.
Right about one thing though.
It definetly is the most dreaded fixture on the calendar.
15 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:28:52
16 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:42:37
17 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:49:57
18 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:58:20
As I said on the other post Martinez looked nervous in his pre post interview. Hope he has his tactics right. The team should be self motivated simple.
19 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:57:41
20 Posted 27/09/2014 at 08:57:30
Moreover, several players, notably Stones, should be straining at the leash to set the record straight after last seasons humiliation.
I would play Besic. A risk... but at least he would get amongst them. It could be the game where we put everything right-a 2-0 win.
21 Posted 27/09/2014 at 09:00:46
22 Posted 27/09/2014 at 09:16:25
25 Posted 27/09/2014 at 09:30:38
26 Posted 27/09/2014 at 09:39:22
He is another Phil Dowd, loving the Sky 4.
We will have to be squeaky clean to get anything, so we won't play Besic.
27 Posted 27/09/2014 at 09:45:28
The thing that worries me is the lack of communication between the Keeper and the two Centrebacks.
The only thing that really scares me is the high ball into the box, "deal with that and win".
"San Jacinto - Everton" "Hold the fuckin’ line!"
28 Posted 27/09/2014 at 10:04:35
29 Posted 27/09/2014 at 09:42:55
30 Posted 27/09/2014 at 10:40:42
Nobody has really bashed McGeady, we are merely going on what we have seen over the last 9 months.
We were told when he signed that he needed time getting fit, he was given plenty of time by fans, who incidently sing his name incase you haven't heard but McGeady's displays have at best been erratic.
He is meant to be quick with tricky feet but then again we heard that with McFadden and so far I haven't seen a world of differences between the two.
If McGeady plays today then he should be one of the few players who fans need something from attacking wise.
Its down to McGeady, Mirallas, Naismith and Lukaku to create and score but I won't be holding my breath.
31 Posted 27/09/2014 at 10:38:54
Lukaku is better when he is running with the ball towards goal and his best goals for Everton, such as the one against Arsenal last year, have come from these positions. He works - as asked - for the team to hold the ball up and, though he is big and strong, it doesn't seem to be his best attribute but is a very difficult role.
Besic doesn't seem to be ready and I suspect Oviedo is also some distance from a start in a game like this. Barkley and Pienaar are injured. It means the team is largely picking itself so McGeady will start. Besic, Oviedo, Gibson and Eto'o will all be on the bench.
I just hope Coleman is fit as Stones is wonderful prospect at centre half, yet not so good at right back!
32 Posted 27/09/2014 at 10:50:33
33 Posted 27/09/2014 at 10:40:50
I just have a sneaky little feeling that the much maligned Mcgeady will be our match winner today.
34 Posted 27/09/2014 at 10:57:58
35 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:03:33
36 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:10:48
37 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:06:03
If Coleman can start what about the great experiment of Baines to MF and Oviedo to LB? I know I maybe daft but hey I 'm yank with only 5 years of experience. that's why I appreciate you folks so much. Here is where I get the straight information be it good or bad. Such a great site TW is because of the participants.
38 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:27:33
39 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:32:39
40 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:34:25
41 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:40:41
42 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:43:39
43 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:24:02
44 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:49:20
Everton XI to face Liverpool: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Barry, McCarthy, Besic, Mirallas, Naismith, Lukaku.
Everton subs: Joel, Gibson, Eto'o, McGeady, Browning, Osman, Alcaraz.
Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Lovren, Gerrard, Henderson, Moreno, Manquillo, Lallana, Sterling, Skrtel, Balotelli, Markovic.
Liverpool subs: Jones, Enrique, Toure, Lambert, Coutinho, Lucas, Suso.
45 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:49:46
At least that means hopefully Stones starts at CB...
Get ya belts on - this is going to be a bumpy ride...
46 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:50:15
47 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:52:52
48 Posted 27/09/2014 at 11:54:00
However, I think sterling and markovicÂs pace against hibbert has disaster written all over it.
COYB, end the shockin run today!
51 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:00:31
52 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:06:54
53 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:05:05
54 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:13:35
57 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:06:16
Hibbo and Besic big risks though. With Ossie on the finish & Pienaar getting injury prone there’s no ball playing attacking mids who can help the balance; he’s had to go with Besic as the alternative is McGeady and that shape and formation too open as we have discovered.
If Besic gets a yellow first half he really will have to be so careful. Having seen his antics at Tranmere against Celta Vigo I’m worried.
Assuming its a mid 3 of McCarthy(right half) Barry Besic.
McCarthy’s going need to look after Hibbo. Massive ask for him to do 90 by the way. He’s come straight back in at Anfield in the past after a lay off and played well. But he’s a fair bit older now and had no football for so long.
If I was Brenda I know where I’d be trying to exploit.
58 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:28:08
Thats another reason that I'm worried that Besic is in for this game. I'd have gone for Gibson, a more experienced and controlled player.
59 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:29:27
60 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:25:43
61 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:41:50
62 Posted 27/09/2014 at 12:49:34
63 Posted 27/09/2014 at 13:01:09
Did he clash heads with a fuckin brick wall???
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