LIVERPOOL VS EVERTON: THE DETERMINING TACTICS OF THIS MERSEYSIDE DERBY
The two Merseyside teams clash over the bragging rights of the city, and for a chance at top four.
Liverpool currently sits three points ahead of Everton in the league, while Everton have two games in hand.
Everton have one of the best records against the top six this season from the other 14. The two Merseyside teams are close together in the league, and the points up for grabs at Anfield could start a strong push towards the top four.
Everton’s current away form is (WWWWD), with Liverpool’s home currently (DDLLL) coming off the back of their outstanding 68 game unbeaten home run.
Regardless of current form, Everton have not beaten Liverpool since October 2010, where current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta scored.
Everton have not beaten Liverpool at Anfield since the turn of the century. How will Ancelotti look to change that?
Ancelotti knows that Everton will not have the majority of possession. Instead, they will play on the counter.
The toffees will use Andre Gomes and James Rodriguez to get balls to Richarlison and Lucas Digne on the left wing.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s attacking output may leave space for Everton to exploit quickly on the counter but will need quick passing out from midfield.
From the wing, balls into the Dominic Calvert-Lewin, or into James at the edge of the box are likely to be where Ancelotti sees goals coming from.
Without Van Dijk and with the Alisson’s current shaky confidence, Calvert-Lewin could have the advantage in the air, and Everton could utilise crossing.
For most of the game, Ancelotti will rely on remaining compact, keeping play out to the wings, and force them to play crosses to their shorter forwards against Everton’s tall centre-backs.
Everton will see chances on the counterattack, it will be about picking the right time and taking advantage. They’re unlikely to win on xG this way, but it gives them the best chance of getting a result.
Liverpool will look to use Robertson and Alexander-Arnold in the wide areas to spread the defence and make space in the centre for Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane to make runs into.
Passes into them can either come from midfield through balls, or from the fullbacks on the wings.
Liverpool focusing on heavily pressured attack relieves pressure off their centre-backs and off of Alisson, coming off of three recently errors leading to goals.
Liverpool could look to take advantage of Everton’s left side, with Digne often in a more forward position, and Gomes likely on the left not being as defensively sound as Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure or Tom Davies.
Liverpool will also try to get set pieces outside the box, with the midfield likely to concede at least one in a dangerous area.
Liverpool v Everton starts at 17:30 on February 20. Both managers will be looking for three points out of the game, but it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.