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Everton v Liverpool – Match Preview

Tomorrow Everton go to Anfield, as the big Merseyside Derby game has arrived for the 2nd time this season. The first meeting of the season between the two rivals, ended in a 2-0 win for Liverpool, however since then the Reds form has been pretty mixed. This will be the 213th Merseyside Derby, plus the game will be shown in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Everton
The Toffees go into this game in better shape than Liverpool, as the form books show that Everton are in better form than their rivals. David Moyes’s team are currently unbeaten in nine Premier League games, as that run was extended last week as Everton overturned Wigan 1-0. Everton are climbing up the table, as they are currently two points away from 8th placed Birmingham.

The game is a massive one for Everton fans, and some of Everton’s players. Leon Osman has been at the club since his youth days and the midfielder has spoken out prior to the game. ” Were playing well and we believe in each other and we’re winning games at the minute. ” We should, as a team, take each game as it comes and go there this time and win the game”, stated Osman. Also the game is undoubtedly a big one for Leighton Baines, as a boyhood Everton fan it’s always a special occasion to play well against your distinct rivals. Baines told BBC Radio Merseyside, ” I don’t think there ever needs to be any added spice to a derby and I don’t think there is any case for revenge”.

The Toffees could welcome back the Nigerian pairing of Joseph Yobo and Yakubu. Both players are back from the African Cup of Nations, and Joseph Yobo is fit again after picking up an injury while playing for Nigeria. Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka are highly doubtful for the game, however there is a bit of good news for Everton, as Jack Rodwell is now fit again.

Key Player – Leighton Baines
Baines is a man on form, and in games like this the left-back needs to perform to his personal best. Big games spark the attention of international managers, and as Wayne Bridge could well drop out of the England national team, because of his rift with John Terry, the 2nd left-back spot could well be handed to Leighton Baines. His delivery needs to be spot on tomorrow lunchtime, as his key weapon could well be crucial on Everton’s behalf.

Leighton Baines of Everton scores his team's second goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park on August 30, 2009 in Liverpool, England.

Liverpool
Liverpool’s current form is certainly been mixed, as last month saw the Reds pick up two wins, three draws and one loss in all competitions. This will definitely be a tough game for Liverpool, as Everton are currently unbeaten in nine league games, plus they are getting a lot of key players back from injury and international duty. However to be fair on Everton’s rivals, they have coped pretty well without the likes of Gerrard, Benayoun and Torres, as they only had a blip of form in the FA Cup competition.

Team news states that Glen Johnson, Philipp Degen and Martin Kelly all of whom are defenders, are likely to miss the derby game through injury. Benayoun and Torres are highly likely to miss out again for Liverpool tomorrow, plus Fabio Aurelio has also picked up a slight injury.

Key Player – Dirk Kuyt
Dirk Kuyt has hunted down Everton in the past, as his two penalties gifted Liverpool a win over Everton at Goodison Park in the 07/08 season. With Benayoun and Torres injured, Liverpool will look to the goalscoring predator of Dirk Kuyt for goals. The Holland international has scored nine times this season, and most recently he netted a double against Tottenham. The Everton defence has to be wary of the threat of Dirk Kuyt.

Dirk Kuyt of Liverpool celebrates with his team mates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on January 20, 2010 in Liverpool, England.

Gav’s Match Prediction – Liverpool 1-2 Everton     

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