So another football free week which has hopefully given the reds time to prepare for today’s derby game. Despite this, one could be forgiven for thinking that games such as this don’t exist anymore and that there is no other football news save the plight of Carlos Tevez.
The Manchester City player was wrong however I just don’t care anymore, the coverage has become so saturated that everyone is in danger of drowning assuming they don’t die of boredom first. Tevez wouldn’t get much more attention if he was announced he was to marry Prince Harry I just wish it would go away, it’s everywhere!
To today’s game and even though we have played Everton stacks of times since many, when not discussing Tevez, seem to want to hark back to Wednesday 20th February 1991 and that 4-4 FA Cup 5th round replay (click here for match report).
As you will no doubt have read this was the game that prompted Kenny to resign from Liverpool. It was the preverbal straw that broke the camel’s back, he had been under immense pressure not least because of the aftermath of Hillsborough. The Hillsborough issue will always be with us however elsewhere, things have moved on as Kenny says
“There is no point in revisiting it, but if we get four goals on Saturday I’ll be delighted…..”
I think most will simply be happy with a win. The three points we secured by beating Wolves were encouraging however the squad is still in it’s embryonic stage and work is still needed. The Guardian highlighted the defensive situation suggesting that improvements were needed as there has only been one clean sheet so far his season, against Arsenal, Furthermore our goal difference of zero is worse than Sunderland’s who are 14th, shocking! Arguably one might say that we are fifth with that goal difference because we’ve been scoring at the other end however, perhaps folk wouldn’t be talking in this way had we taken the numerous chances we created against Stoke and Wolves? Injuries, to Johnson and in particular Agger and Kelly haven’t helped in an area of the pitch where continuity, understanding and partnership are more important. Hopefully as the squad beds down all this will come.
Today’s game has even more significance if you are a Liverpool or Everton player who was born and bred in the city? Steven Gerard fits the bill here but even if he were fit perhaps he will be kept in reserve? A start and a significant amount of time on the pitch might prompt Fabio Capello to consider naming Gerrard for his England squad who travel to Montenegro next week for a Euro 2012 qualifier? There are two issues here. Firstly should Gerard play? The man himself is clear on this.
“I think everyone knows I’m still not 100% match fit. I have only probably had two 12-minute games. I’m not really sure how much I’m going to play against Everton so, in my opinion, it’s probably still a bit too early. I don’t make the decisions. Those decisions are down to the England manager, whether he picks me or not.”
The second is should Gerrard be in the squad? I see little point in this, surely it would be best for all concerned if Gerard were to stay at home with the staff he’s used to and work on his fitness with them? England has more than enough replacements however, sadly you never know with Fabio!
To today and team wise we are without Agger and, even though he has started training again, Glen Johnson. As discussed I expect Gerard to sit it out for most of the game once more. One wonders if Kenny will persevere with Andy Carroll? John Aldridge, in an interview last night, suggested his style of play would be meat and drink to the Everton defence and that Kuyt or Bellamy would, along with Suarez, create more problems. That said I reckon this is just the sort of game that Carroll will relish!
Prediction? Both sides have had up and down starts however I always fancy us at Goodison Park. If we carry on creating as many chances as we did against Stoke and Wolves eventually our luck will turn and I take this effort, assuming it is repeated, to pay dividends today. 3-1 to us and Carroll to do some damage.