Liverpool have named an unchanged line-up for this evening’s Merseyside derby with Everton.
The Reds have elected to field the same team that began Tuesday’s 2-0 win over RB Leipzig for the Premier League encounter at Anfield.
Naby Keita returns on the bench after injury.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Jones, Thiago, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Adrian, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tsimikas, Shaqiri, Origi, Davies, Phillips, N. Williams.
Naby Keita returns to the Liverpool squad for today’s Merseyside derby at Anfield.
The midfielder is back for the Reds after two months on the sidelines, having resumed training with his teammates earlier this week.
Full team news for the Premier League clash with Everton will be announced on Liverpoolfc.com at 4.30pm GMT.
A prolific second-half display saw Liverpool U18s post a remarkable 6-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday morning.
The U18 Premier League North fixture at the Academy of Light was goalless at the break, but Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s Reds then surged to an emphatic victory in the north east.
Isaac Mabaya opened the scoring eight minutes into the second half, before three goals in seven minutes - from Mateusz Musialowski, Max Woltman and Dominic Corness - established a healthy lead.
Jarell Quansah and substitute James McConnell then netted in quickfire succession to bring up half a dozen for the visitors.
It was a strong response from Liverpool U18s to their last-minute defeat by Blackburn Rovers earlier in the week as they reached the landmark of 50 goals in the league this term and reduced the gap to leaders Manchester United to three points.
“We were a bit slow in our play first half but the lads really stepped it up in the second,” Bridge-Wilkinson told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We played very well, six different goalscorers as well, which was pleasing. We scored some great goals and Dominic Corness netted a fantastic free-kick so overall a pleasing day from us.”
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek, Wilson, Quansah, Miles (Jonas, 43), Norris, Corness, Mabaya, Frauendorf, Gordon (McConnell, 76), Musialowski (Piling, 79), Woltman.
Unused substitute: Hewitson.
The Liverpool under-23s fought back for a 3-2 victory away to Chelsea on Friday night, but injuries to Marcelo Pitaluga and Leighton Clarkson clouded the celebrations.Chelsea U23s 2-3 Liverpool U23s
Premier League 2, Kingsmeadow Stadium
February 19, 2021
Goals: Ballo 5′, Livramento 73′; Cain 37′, Morton 40′, Stewart 55′
The young Reds arrived in Kingston-upon-Thames with Barry Lewtas having made four changes from the 6-3 loss to Man United in their last competitive outing at the end of January.
Morgan Boyes, Conor Bradley, Owen Beck and Layton Stewart came in for Tom Clayton, Sepp van den Berg, Remi Savage and Fidel O’Rourke, but within five minutes Liverpool were a goal down as Thierno Ballo capitalised on hesistation from Billy Koumetio to finish.
Chelsea dominated for much of the first half, only for their visitors, growing in confidence as the opening 45 minutes wore on, to turn the tide with two goals before half-time.
The first came from Jake Cain, who struck following an excellent move involving Clarkson and Ben Woodburn, with young right-back Bradley providing with his third assist of the season.
Tyler Morton then added another with an increasingly common spectacular goal for the 18-year-old, lobbing Chelsea goalkeeper Ethan Wady from range to secure the lead before the break.
HT: Chelsea U23s 1-2 Liverpool U23s
Lewtas was dealt a blow before the half-time whistle blew, however, with Marcelo Pitaluga forced off with a muscle injury, with birthday boy Jakub Ojrzynski coming on to take his place.
And before Liverpool’s third goal of the night, Clarkson was also withdrawn having suffered a groin problem, with it serving as a double blow for both the U23s and the senior side.
Pitaluga and Clarkson have been first-team regulars not only in training but, more frequently of late, on matchdays too, with the latter making the substitutes’ bench in each of the last two games.
The young Reds forged on without them, however, and Stewart scored his first since stepping up to the U23s as he fired in from Morton’s ball into the box.
Ojrzynski was then required to deny Declan Frith, but could do nothing to keep out Tino Livramento with the consolation goal for Chelsea in the 73rd minute.
Fortunately, Liverpool were able to stay firm and hold on for a priceless 3-2 victory.
Liverpool U23s: Pitaluga (Ojrzynski 45′); Bradley, Boyes, Koumetio, Beck; Clarkson (Clayton 53′), Morton, Cain; Woodburn, Longstaff (Dixon-Bonner 46′), Stewart
Subs not used: Savage, Hardy
Pep Guardiola’s side are 10 points clear at the top of the table, having won 12 successive league matches, and the 16-point gap to last season’s champions has already seen Klopp concede the title.
But the Reds boss insists what City are doing this season is not the driving force behind his own plans for improvement.
“We do not have to think about that now because we do not play them any more this year, probably. Maybe in the Champions League,” he said.
“It was never the case where we thought ‘how can we overtake City?’, or ‘how can we become the finest team in English football again?’.
“We just wanted to be the best version of ourselves. We have that chance again. If that is good enough, it is good enough. If another team is better, that’s how sport works.
“We cannot do more than be the best version of ourselves and that is what we will try again as a team. For that we need a little bit more luck, of course. Slightly more luck with injuries and we can get closer to that.”
Klopp has lost all three of his senior central defenders to injury, with first-choice pair Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez both suffering long-term problems within a couple of weeks of each other two months into the campaign.
Summer signing Thiago Alcantara also missed 16 matches with an injury sustained in October, barely a month after arriving.
“We all agree, and I’m sure Pep would say that, in a normal season for both teams we would not be 16 points away. But we are. That’s how it is. We accept it,” added Klopp.
“This season it is not our concern how close we get to City. It is how far we can go up the table. That is enough work to do.”
Having slipped to sixth place after just two wins in their last 10 league matches, the visit of Everton – three points behind with a game in hand – for the 238th Merseyside derby is a crucial one.
The Reds have not lost at home to their neighbours since September 1999 but their formidable home form has deserted them having gone five matches without a win.
October’s derby at Goodison saw Thiago sidelined for two-and-a-half months and Van Dijk’s season prematurely ended due to a reckless Jordan Pickford tackle.
And while Klopp said there would be no payback from his players, he does want them to be “emotional”.
“We always are emotional. That is our way to play. What the other team does, I have no influence. Nothing to say about that,” he said ahead of the third derby played without fans because of coronavirus restrictions but the first held at Anfield.
“I can imagine after the first game [the media] try to create some stories around that, but I – we – are prepared for a football game, a derby, like we always did.
“Nobody can ever say this team was not ready for derbies from an attitude point of view, or from an understanding point of view.”
Klopp, whose own record of 12 derbies unbeaten is a club record, beating Bob Paisley’s 10, added: “Of course, the derby is a derby without supporters, but with supporters it is just much more enjoyable.
“We all love when football becomes the most important thing for a few moments. This intensity I really like. The game is still intense, that’s normal.”
Liverpool will play four games in the space of just 11 days to start the month of March after the Premier League announced its latest fixture changes to accommodate TV coverage.
The Reds are nearing the completion of yet another month of action and will hope for better fortunes when March comes around after a topsy-turvy start to 2021.
But they are to have little time to rest and recover between their four fixtures prior to the March international break as league action meets the second leg of the last-16 tie against Leipzig.
With the Premier League confirming all games are to be shown live on TV until fans can return to stadiums, Liverpool have seen their three domestic games shifted.
The visit of Chelsea has been moved to a late kickoff on March 4, and less than 66 hours later the Reds will host Fulham on March 7.
In turn, it leaves just three days to prepare for the final game against Leipzig, where the location of the game has yet to be confirmed.
The trip to Wolves will then follow and close out of the month of action for Liverpool in the Monday night slot (March 15), before the team go their separate ways for international duty.
Thankfully, two of their three league games are to be played at Anfield in the month of March as the average break between games will be 2.75 days.
It’s another test in an already taxing season but Liverpool’s season rests on turning their form around and the matchup with Chelsea is to be a crucial one in the top four race.
And it’s a run of matches the Reds will at one point hope to see mark the return of Diogo Jota after a lengthy spell out of the side with a knee injury.Liverpool’s March Fixture List
* All times GMT, TV info based on UK.
Roberto Firmino is in line to make his 200th Premier League appearance for Liverpool when they face Everton at Anfield this evening.
The Brazilian currently has 199 top-flight outings for the Reds since arriving from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015.
In his Premier League career so far, Firmino has netted 63 goals – the eighth-most for the club in the competition – and registered a total of 40 assists.
For more pre-match facts and figures, courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea, read on…
Liverpool are unbeaten in 23 games against Everton in all competitions – their longest unbeaten run in history against a single opponent (beating the 22-match sequence without defeat against Aston Villa from 1981 to 1992).
The Reds have lost just three of the last 42 meetings in the Premier League home and away.
Jürgen Klopp is unbeaten in 12 Merseyside derbies in all competitions – a club record for any manager from the start of a Reds career, beating Bob Paisley's 10.
Sadio Mane has scored four goals in 10 Merseyside derbies, while Divock Origi has netted five in eight.
Origi is one game away from recording 100 in the Premier League.
Should Ozan Kabak and Jordan Henderson be paired again at centre-back, it will be the third time they have started together. That would be the joint-fourth most-used partnership this season, with Joel Matip and Fabinho starting the most together (seven).
Eleven of the last 17 Premier League Merseyside derbies have ended in draws.
Steven Gerrard was the last Liverpool player to score a hat-trick in a Merseyside derby back in 2012.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Visit our Match Centre now to follow live and interactive build-up, action and reaction as Liverpool face Everton at Anfield.
Jordan Henderson has challenged Liverpool to build on the positive Champions League result they secured earlier in the week, starting today against Everton.
The Reds took control of their last-16 tie with RB Leipzig by producing a fine display in Budapest to record a 2-0 first-leg victory.
And with the squad's focus quickly turning towards this evening's Merseyside derby, Henderson and his teammates are out to put things right domestically after a run of three consecutive defeats.
In his column for the matchday programme, the captain writes: "It hasn't been an easy season for us. We had a great result against RB Leipzig in midweek, but that doesn't mask our league form, which hasn't been good enough.
"There are reasons for this and there are also mitigating factors, but our responsibility as players is to make the best of whatever situation we are confronted by and in recent weeks this hasn't happened often enough.
"Throughout this period we have stuck together and the feeling has been that we just needed a springboard to kick on from.
"That meant producing the kind of performance and getting the kind of result that we came up with in Budapest on Tuesday but – and I have to stress this – there's no point giving yourself an opportunity to turn things around if you don't go on to take full advantage of it.
"That would have been our challenge today no matter who we were playing. The fact that it is Everton doesn't change this objective, if anything it heightens it.
"It's no good doing well on foreign soil if you don't maintain those standards on your own turf.
"The pressure and the privilege of Liverpool is that you are expected to win every game and we need to get back to a standard which makes sense of that ambition by becoming more consistent and showing our quality week in, week out."
He continues: "I know we are still in lockdown, but if we can give you something to celebrate tonight – in the comfort of your own homes with your immediate family, of course – that would give all of us a massive boost, especially after a tough run that we know won't have been easy for you.
"I can't promise a victory, you never can, but as captain I can commit to every one of us who is fortunate enough to pull on a red shirt, today of all days, giving their all in the hope that this will bring its own rewards.
"The manager said last week that we always play for our people and never is this more true than when we face Everton. We are aware of our responsibilities, now we have to live up to them."
The COVID-19 pandemic might mean Liverpool fans are unable to back the team in person, but Jürgen Klopp has insisted he and his players feel their support.
The Reds returned to winning ways in midweek with a 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie in Budapest.
The result followed a sequence of three straight defeats for the champions in the Premier League.
However, writing in his notes for the official matchday programme for today’s clash with Everton, Klopp has detailed how the backing of supporters has reached him and his squad – and how such unity is the key for Liverpool to regain the kind of form demonstrated in the previous two seasons.
He said: “As has always been the case since I arrived at LFC, the solution to every problem lies within ourselves. It can be solved on the training ground, in the dressing room, in the analysis meetings and then ultimately on the pitch on a matchday.
“Let me be clear by the way, we are still in this moment. In the Premier League the table is so tight and therefore the situation, maybe for every club except Man City in this moment, is precarious. One result against Leipzig, no matter how pleasing, doesn’t help us today. We have to do it all over again against a very motivated opponent.
“I always expected the season would be like this. I didn’t expect that we would have the injury issues we have in one critical position, but I knew it would be a campaign where it would be a proper race until the very last inches as we approach the finish line.
“Keeping faith in yourself and those who care about helping you is absolutely vital. It’s being tested of course, difficult times do that. For all of us.
“But this is why I made the point, a number of times, about the parts of the games against the two ‘City’ teams that I thought were great for us. In football and all sport the result is the first, second and only thing that matters. The result is king. In England, even more so I learn.
“So, we always prioritise the result, but I do not close my eyes to performance.
“I mention keeping faith in yourself – and that’s not personal to me by the way. I wasn’t referring to me specifically. I refer to all of us in the LFC family. The players, the supporters and me and my staff also. All of us.
“We have been such a strong unit since I came here – we came together to help each other and it produced wonderful moments we will have forever. But it’s more important now than ever before.
“We haven’t lost it by the way! No chance we will lose it, but it’s always worth reminding ourselves how important it is to what we look to achieve. Professional football is not a holiday. It’s hard – it requires hard work and can often give you more kicks than it gives you warm embraces. This is what makes it so intoxicating. It’s also what makes it so rewarding and why all of us in it feel so privileged.
“Being able to take the knocks, together – and get up off the canvas and strike back, together, is one of the best experiences you can have as a collective. It makes me so thankful that I fell in love with football in the first place. Why it became such a huge part of my life.
“No-one should feel sorry for us. Sticking together and coming closer together isn’t about sympathy. It’s about unity.
“As a club – and as a community – we have always embraced the idea that through struggle can come joy... but critically you only achieve this through solidarity and togetherness.
“I have really sensed in the past weeks the love and support from the LFC family. Our players also. They know our supporters hurt with us, in the same way they celebrate with us. It makes this a special place, to be honest.
“So, our fans are not inside Anfield today. For a derby game it will be especially strange I think, no matter how much we are used to this ‘closed doors’ experience.
“But I want everyone who reads this to know we feel them with us and know they stand shoulder to shoulder with us, whatever the circumstance.
“We will never take it for granted.”
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Chris Kavanagh
Date & Time – Saturday, February 20th @ 17:30
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/9, Draw 7/2, Everton 6/1
It’s the Merseyside derby this weekend. Liverpool and Everton clash at Anfield in a game that’s bound to get the adrenaline pumping. It was at Goodison Park that our season began to fall apart, after all. Jordan Pickford ended Virgil van Dijk’s season, Richarlison received a straight red late on for another bad challenge on Thiago, and inept refereeing and use of VAR disallowed Liverpool’s injury-time winner from Jordan Henderson. It finished 2-2 but the game left a lingering aftertaste.
A win on Saturday won’t make up for a career-threatening injury on Van Dijk but it will help us on our road to a top-four Premier League finish. Let’s keep the focus on that.FORM
Liverpool won 2-0 against RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night. It was The Reds’ first win in four games after a three-match losing streak brought an end to their Premier League title defence this month.
Tuesday night, though. Tuesday night, Liverpool looked to be on their way back with a convincing victory against Julian Nagelsmann’s excellent Bundesliga side.
Liverpool must now push on and secure a top-four finish to guarantee qualification to European football’s premier competition next season. That starts with a win against Everton this Saturday evening.
Everton lost their last two league games, both at Goodison Park, this week. Firstly, Fulham beat them 2-0 with two goals from Josh Maja on Sunday and then Manchester City won 3-1 against The Toffees on Wednesday night. Their last league win was the 2-1 victory at Leeds on February 3rd.
Everton have gone 23 games without a win over Liverpool in any competition. Their last success in a Merseyside derby was way back during our ‘Roy Hodgson era’ when they won 2-0 at Goodison Park in October 2010.TEAM NEWS
Liverpool Team News
Currently out for Liverpool are James Milner, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Naby Keïta, Diogo Jota, and Joël Matip.
Ozan Kabak put in a fine performance for The Reds against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night. I expect the Turkey international to start alongside Jordan Henderson in central defence again on Saturday. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson will continue at right and left-back respectively.
Alisson Becker put in a more assured display in midweek. Hopefully, our goalkeeper is on his way back to his old reliable self.
The only change from the RB Leipzig lineup that we may see is a return for Naby Keïta in midfield. Gini Wijnaldum will probably play the ‘6’ role at the base of Liverpool’s midfield with Thiago Alcântara ahead of him. Curtis Jones was very good against RB Leipzig on Tuesday but could be on the bench for the Everton game with Keïta coming in instead. Keïta hasn’t played since Liverpool’s 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in mid-December but is back in full training and stayed at the AXA Training Centre this week to continue his quest for full fitness. I could be way off with this but it’s possible that with some full training sessions under his belt this week, Keïta might be given a starting place on Saturday.
With Jota still not back from injury, Liverpool’s front three will almost certainly remain unchanged from Tuesday night – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané.
Everton Team News
Everton’s only injury concern is Jean-Philippe Gbamin. The defensive midfielder misses out on this one.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Fabian Delph, and Yerry Mina will face late fitness tests ahead of Saturday’s game.
Midfielder Allan is no longer injured but has not played for the first team since Everton’s win at Leicester back in mid-December. He will be seriously lacking match fitness so the best he can hope for is a place on the bench.
Jordan Pickford returned to the starting lineup for Everton’s 3-1 home defeat against Manchester City on Wednesday night so should be in goal for The Toffees at Anfield.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side will stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation that they have been using, for the most part, this season.PREDICTED LINEUPS
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Keïta; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Everton XI (4-2-3-1) – Pickford; Holgate, Godfrey, Keane, Digne; Doucouré, Davies; Rodríguez, Sigurðsson, Richarlison; Calvert-LewinWHEN THEY LAST MET
The sides drew 2-2 when they met in the Premier League at Goodison Park back in October. Unfortunately, it was a game more remembered for inept officiating rather than free-flowing football. Jordan Pickford ended Virgil van Dijk’s season with a horror challenge in the first half – an incident that went without punishment despite VAR having full access to perfect video footage of the tackle.
To rub salt in the wounds, Liverpool had what would have been a deserved winner from Jordan Henderson denied because of an incorrect ‘offside’ call via VAR late in injury time.
Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah were Liverpool’s goalscorers on the day with Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scoring for The Toffees.PREDICTION
LIVERPOOL 3 – 1 EVERTON
Liverpool stopped the rot with a great win against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night. Now, they have the chance to really boost the mood around the club by beating Everton in the Merseyside derby at Anfield. And they will. Expect a pulsating encounter where every player’s temperament will need to be controlled. Mohamed Salah will probably get on the scoresheet again – the one-season wonder that he is…