Predicted Liverpool Line-up To Face Everton In The FA Cup
It was all positive vibes for Liverpool during this festive season when they grabbed three consecutive league wins and acquired long-term transfer target Virgil Van Dijk for the remainder of the season. The last-gasp goal against Burnley at Turf Moor earned them a massive win on new year’s eve, but the drama regarding Philippe Coutinho’s transfer has hit its extreme and perhaps reached the climax as Liverpool, despite blocking his move back in summer, seem to be more open to letting the Brazilian leave this month.
The Coutinho saga has shifted the focus from Friday night’s Merseyside Derby clash when the Reds host Everton at Anfield in an Emirates FA Cup third round tie. Liverpool have let Everton off the hook once this season already and they can’t afford the same this time around.
Sam Allardyce, the newly appointed Everton gaffer, smelt his first defeat last weekend against Bournemouth followed by a defeat against Manchester United at home. ‘Big Sam’ will be keen on a result at Anfield and could push for a draw in order to have a replay at Goodison Park. His defensive strategy has worked fine in these two sides’ league meeting when a controversial late penalty ruined Liverpool’s good work and forced them to settle for a draw.
Jurgen Klopp, the charismatic Liverpool boss, is eyeing a silverware and conquering the FA Cup will be a huge achievement considering the progress his side has made since his arrival.
The Reds have a few significant injury absentees. Skipper Jordan Henderson is ruled out with a hamstring strain whereas Alberto Moreno is yet to resume his training following an ankle injury. Daniel Sturridge is uncertain too due to a thigh strain whereas Nathaniel Clyne remains a long-term absentee following his back surgery.
Although Mohamed Salah has recovered from a minor knock and is in contention to return against Everton, Philippe Coutinho might have played his last game for the Reds already and isn’t going to be fielded due to a suspected thigh injury.
Klopp has experimented with his formations but switched to his usual 4-3- 3 setup later and is expected to field the same against the Toffees on Friday night.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Loris Karius (GK)
The German custodian has been preferred over Simon Mignolet in the Champions League as well as cup outings. He is tipped to start between the sticks against the Toffees.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)
Liverpool’s academy graduate has been sensational whenever he’s got his chances and the teenager from West Derby will be elevated to face the bitter rivals due to his knowledge of the age-old rivalry, being a local lad.
Joel Matip (CB)
Matip had a disastrous display against Leicester City and was benched against Burnley. But the Cameroonian is expected to return to the starting lineup against the Toffees and occupy the central defensive role.
Ragnar Klavan (CB)
Klavan’s stoppage-time winner at Burnley has earned him a cult status among the fans, and the Estonian will be determined to keep up his good work if handed further opportunities. He might be picked over Dejan Lovren to partner Matip in central defence.
Andrew Robertson (LB)
Was rested against the Clarets but is set to return to the starting XI on Friday night, replacing Joe Gomez, who had a nervy outing in a makeshift left-back role. The Scotsman has done a decent job since Moreno’s unavailability and will be handed another opportunity to stake a claim for first-team status before the Spaniard returns from his injury.
Emre Can (CDM)
The German international is set to join Juventus on a Bosman transfer next summer but has shown commitment and sportsmanship despite his links and is expected to feature in a deeper central midfield role in the Merseyside derby.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (RCM)
The former Arsenal star has uplifted his game lately despite a slow start following the transfer deadline day move and has eventually become an integral member of Klopp’s squad with some stupendous outings. He was instrumental in their dramatic win at Turf Moor and is expected to start on the right-hand side of Klopp’s three-man midfield.
James Milner (LCM)
The veteran Englishman can slot in multiple roles and is expected to start the game in the midfield against Everton. His work ethics, as well as experience, will allow the Reds to win the midfield battle and create more chances for a lethal attacking trio.
Mohamed Salah (RW)
The Egyptian wingman has been in scintillating form during his second stint in the Premier League and might return to the squad after missing the Burnley clash with a knock. He scored a sensational goal against the Toffees in early December and will be keen on continuing his great scoring run.
Roberto Firmino (CF)
Firmino is not only leading the attacking line but is also helping his defence to protect a lead with his incessant hard work and agility. He is set to start the Merseyside derby.
Sadio Mane (LW)
His majestic strike against the Clarets would have come as a confidence booster after a spell of underperformance last month. He was at fault in their draw against Everton for being selfish and wasting a glaring opportunity to double the lead in the first-half, however, the Senegalese wingman will have his chance to seek revenge this time and guide his side to proceed through to the next round of the competition.