Reds and Blues gear up for derby clash

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Liverpool drew 1-1 with Everton at Anfield earlier in the season as Mario Balotelli made his Merseyside derby debut for the Reds. Pic © David Rawcliffe / Propaganda Photo

Liverpool drew 1-1 with Everton at Anfield earlier in the season as Mario Balotelli made his Merseyside derby debut for the Reds. Pic © David Rawcliffe / Propaganda Photo

City rivals Everton and Liverpool clash at Goodison Park this Saturday in a match that could be crucial for the rest of the Premier League season.

The Reds currently sit 7th in the table but are only four points away from a Champions League position, while the Toffees are 12th in the league, still looking to regain last season’s incredible form.

Spectators will be hoping that the clash at the weekend will live up to last season’s pulsating 3-3 draw in the Goodison derby, widely considered as one of the best matches between the two sides in recent years.

Daniel Sturridge’s dramatic 89th minute equaliser minutes after coming on as a substitute ensured a share of the spoils.

The last three Merseyside derby encounters at Goodison have ended in a draw, with Liverpool being the last side to snatch bragging rights in the fixture with a 2-0 win in October 2011.

The reverse fixture earlier this season also ended with honours even after Phil Jagielka silenced the Kop with a thunderous late equaliser to make it 1-1.

Saturday’s kick-off time has been a hotly-disputed issue in recent weeks, with Merseyside Police unsure how safe Goodison would be for an evening weekend game that is due to kick off at 5.30pm. However, the police withdrew their case on Tuesday morning after Everton agreed to improve segregation between the two sets of rival fans.

Everton, who go in to this game without a win at Goodison since a 3-1 victory against Queens Park Rangers in mid-December, will hope to welcome new loan signing Aaron Lennon, who arrived from Spurs on deadline day, straight in to the first team.

Earlier this season Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard opened the scoring but Everton skipper Phil Jagielka denied the Reds at Anfield. Pics © David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

Earlier this season Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard opened the scoring but Everton skipper Phil Jagielka denied the Reds at Anfield. Pics © David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

The Toffees could also welcome back midfielder James McCarthy who hasn’t played for Everton this calendar.

Meanwhile. Liverpool will have a decision to make over Daniel Sturridge, who will be itching to silence the home crowd once more. The England international could be in line for his for start after a five-month injury lay-off. He scored upon his return to the team as a substitute in the weekend win over West Ham.

These two fierce rivals go in to this match with almost completely contrasting runs of form.

Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League since December’s 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford. For Everton, Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace ended an eight game winless streak for the Toffees

The Blues will be looking to bag their first win against their bitter rivals since a 2-0 Goodison victory in October 2010 and propel themselves towards mid-table.

A win for Liverpool will aid their hunt for a Champions League but local bragging rights will be the most important thing for both sides on the day.

About Adam Jones, JMU Journalism