It’s an epic Merseyside derby with a twist today, with the winner gaining a place in the FA cup final.
Image via The Guardian
The stakes are always high in these intense encounters; with pride to play for and bragging rights in the office on Monday. But this game has an added extra in that they could be one step closer to getting their hands on the FA cup trophy.
While the bookies have made Liverpool favourites at 11/8, I believe the Toffees are a great play at 11/5.
Sure, Liverpool are playing at home, but Everton are the in-form team coming into this tie. Everton have won four of their last five games and drawn the other. In these five games, they’ve kept four clean sheets and scored 12 goals in the process. That includes their last game, spanking a ‘resurgent’ Sunderland side 4-0.
In stark contrast, the reds have lost three of their last five games, drawing once and winning the other. Their win came against relegation contenders Blackburn Rovers, and only managed to grab the three points after Yakubu missed his first penalty and Andy Carroll scored a late winner.
Liverpool also came a cropper when they faced a Wigan side who have just come into form. They also lost a two goal advantage when fellow relegation battlers scored three goals in the last 13 minutes.
With Livepool struggling to beat three teams in the relegation dog fight, how will they cope against an Everton side who are flying high?
Everton have been crying out for a striker for many a year now. Former Rangers striker Nikica Jelavic has hit the ground running since his move in the January transfer window, scoring four goals in eight Premier League appearances.
Liverpool will be without both their first and second choice keepers in Reina and Doni respectively after receiving red cards. That means third choice goalkeeper Brad Jones will be filling in between the sticks. He came on for the dismissed Doni against Rovers in midweek and looked nervous, giving a penalty away. He did save the first penalty from Yakubu, but it was poorly taken in truth.
The only case I can make for Liverpool is King Kenny rested his star players such as Gerrard and Suarez, giving the latter plenty of time to practice his diving for this game.
Everton today are a price play and I’m confident that we won’t see a repeat performance of the last Merseyside derby where Gerrard scored a hat trick at Anfield. With so much at stake, this could be the sweetest win for Everton in a long long time.
Who will reach the FA cup final? Tell us in the comments section below.