Local derbies are always different and therefore difficult to predict.
Form books often go out of the window as pride and passion takes over, I’m sure I‘ve written something like this before but hell it’s true! Everything seems to be quicker, challenges and tackles have a more robust physical edge, remember Dirk Kuyt last year? As a result sometimes the football and the flow of the game often suffers however, it is always compelling stuff and I expect this latest encounter, the 179th in the league between Everton and Liverpool, to be no different.
On paper I guess we should be favourites. We lie third in the league and unbeaten whilst Everton are mid table after an indifferent start. Looking closer at the stats for both teams the red case is even more compelling. Everton have yet to win at home and their defence is one of the most porous in the league with eleven goals conceded, only Portsmouth, after shipping six the other week at Eastlands, have a worse record.
However, let’s put the anorak away. Many will say that our league position belies our form, with the last two games, against Stoke and Crewe, showing just that. On the other hand perhaps Everton’s defensive weakness will provide us the opportunity to blow away the cobwebs? Because of this I suspect quiet a few eyes will be on Robbie Keane? What better time to open your goal scoring account than against Everton? Somehow fate, or is it just the romantic in me, dictates, no demands, that this should happen?
Of course Robbie Keane is no stranger to the derby atmosphere having played in the Midlands, Milan and North London versions.
“My experience of derby games has taught me that each match is always completely different – no matter how well you’ve been doing in the League or how good the team you’re playing against is. Form can give you confidence how you play, but things will be different because it will be two teams fighting for local pride on Saturday…… The north London derby with Arsenal while I was with Tottenham was fantastic and I’m sure this will be no different – and even better. Playing against Everton is something that I’m really looking forward to.”
When Keane was signed it was thought he would fit seamlessly into the side alongside, behind, perpendicular or adjacent (you take your pick) to Torres. Although things haven’t been that bad, this hasn’t really proved to be the case so far. Olympic duty, injury to Torres and others have caused Rafa to move players around. Even allowing for his penchant for rotation, I suspect this has been more than he would have liked. As a result, the balance of the team together with new players such as Keane, has suffered. As soon as Keane and Torres settle into their roles and become more adept a managing each others expectations I’m sure things will start to click. Above all we, as fans, should be patient and supportive?
Team wise there appear to be no major issues. With the other top four facing easy games this week a win is essential. Let’s hope we can get back on course. In the meantime if you need a nice memory of previous games at Goodison Park click here. Prediction, 2-1 to us.
Enjoy the game.