Ben Morgan looks ahead to tonight’s FA Cup clash as Liverpool host bitter Merseyside rivals Everton at Anfield, including team news for both sides, and what we could expect to see in the game.
Virgil Van Dijk could receive his Liverpool debut on Friday night when the Reds tackle Everton in a bid to get their FA Cup campaign underway. The £75million signing has trained with his new team mates ahead of the fixture, and Klopp could use this as an opportunity to get him used to his system before the Manchester City game on the 14th of January. Last year the Reds were abysmal in the competition. Being pushed to 2 legs against League 2 side Plymouth, while then being knocked out in the following round against Championship side Wolves. Jurgen Klopp has insisted that with the gap between this game and the City one that he will field the ‘strongest team’ available to show his ‘ultimate respect’ for the competition. The game will be a welcomed break for all Liverpool fans from the ongoing speculation regarding Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has once again been heavily linked with a move to Catalan Giants Barcelona, with the clubs players even commenting openly about the arrival of Coutinho. It will be a chance for the fans and players to get stuck into what really matters, the players who give their all in that glorious red.
Team News – Liverpool:
Egyptian star, Mohammed Salah misses out the game through injury. The club’s leading goal scorer has a slight groin issue, which kept him out of the dramatic late 2-1 win over Burnley. Phil Coutinho also misses out through injury, while Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno are still nursing their hamstring and ankle injuries respectively. Nathaniel Clyne remains a long term absentee. Lloris Karius will start in goal for the Reds. The German stopper will come in for Simon Mignolet, as Klopp continues his goalkeeping rotation, but with Danny Ward set to make the bench with Mignolet given a full day’s rest. Andrew Robertson will be looking to come back in at left back, with Gomez at right back, while Klopp faces a refreshing dilemma at Centre Back, with the addition of Virgil Van Dijk. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be looking to continue his good recent form. Adam Lallana will be hoping for some more minutes as he continues his comeback from injury. We could see some more minutes for young Dominic Solanke as well, who Klopp has backed to score sooner rather than later for the Reds.
Team News – Everton:
Sam Allardyce’s toffee’s have had a somewhat change of fortunes in the league, sitting in 9th, but still only remain 7 points ahead of 18th placed Stoke City. Big Sam might use the FA Cup as a chance to utilise his squad however. Leighton Baines, Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman will miss the match through injury. Wayne Rooney will likely captain the side, and play behind Dominic Calvert-Lewin at top for the Blues. There is unlikely to be any Cenk Tosun for the visitors though. Everton have reportedly agreed a £27million deal (Sky Sports) to bring in Beskitas’ Turkish Frontman to the Premier League, with Big Sam saying in his conference that it was just ‘personal terms left to finalise for the deal’.
What can we expect?
This will be another physical Merseyside Derby as they always are. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds and fans alike are all desperate for silverware, with the clubs last piece coming in 2012 when they lifted the then Capital One cup (now Carabao). Liverpool will look to play their expansive counter attacking, high press football against an Everton side which could be looking to soak up pressure from the Liverpool attack, and pounce on the break. Challenges will be flying in from all directions in this one, in a game where the Reds have gone 15 games without loss against their neighbours across the park.
A big game awaits the Reds, as a Special FA Cup night, could see the debut, of the Reds new Dutch destroyer. It’s all set to be a Merseyside classic once again in front of the Kop.