The final Premier League match before Xmas sees the mother of all local derbies as Everton host Liverpool in an appetising Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.
Everton will be confident of claiming another title chasing scalp in the form of arch rivals, Liverpool, after defeating a strong Arsenal side on Tuesday night. Their form is however poor with only five points from their last five games.
Liverpool are however back on form after a brief blip which saw them lose at Bournemouth, a fortnight ago. They have collected eight points across the same five game period. This is double Everton’s amount and will surely make the Reds many people’s favourites to win the local bragging rights.
Liverpool come into this derby with the better squad. They might be missing Phillip Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge but are strutting along without any real problems going forwards.
Their defence is however a sticky weakness that the Toffees will aim to expose to maximum advantage. If Joel Matip fails a late medical, the away side will need to be dominant and not gift Romelu Lukaku or Ross Barkley the ball. Failure to do so could well send the title chasers hurtling towards another defeat in four games.
Everton are without Yannick Bolasie and Muhamed Besic due to long term injuries. The suspension for Phil Jagielka is only going to make life tougher for this out of form side. They will be relieved to have Barkley and Lukaku starting because those two are their danger men going forward.
The Toffees’ defence is however poor, having let in at least one goal in each of their last five games. If they leak another, we could well see a goalfest emerge unless Jurgen Klopp has managed to shore up his defence and they stop conceding.
Simon Mignolet will surely start for Liverpool ahead of a shambolic performing Loris Karius, if they’re to keep Everton quiet. Joel Robles will be the home keeper but has been one of the most sloppiest keepers in the league this season.
This match should be a thriller because both teams will be determined to hold the local bragging rights on Christmas Day. Matches that have been given own titles by Sky in the build up have often fallen flat so don’t expect too much despite, despite both defences being awful.
Prediction; Everton 1-1 Liverpool