Liverpool face Everton in a fixture which the Reds have dominated over the last decade, but Carlo Ancelotti has the chance to become the first Everton manager to win at Anfield since Walter Smith.
The Reds have been far from the side that lifted the Premier League trophy seven months ago, with a title defence currently being the least of their concerns. They find themselves 16 points behind Manchester City at the top, and two points off a Champions League place.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have failed to win at Anfield in 2021, losing their last three consecutively and if they were to lose to Everton, it would be the first time since 1923 Liverpool have lost four home games on the bounce in any league division.
Having had their 68-games (league) unbeaten run at home ended by a late Burnley penalty last month, Liverpool have struggled ever since. Their last home win came against Tottenham Hotspur before Christmas, when Roberto Firmino's header snatched victory.
Everton themselves are out of form, having lost their last two Premier League games. Despite their abysmal home form in 2021, which has seen the Toffees pick up one point from a possible 15, their away from has been the total opposite.
Ancelotti’s side have the fourth best away record in the league this campaign, which has seen them only beaten twice away from Goodision Park- their last away defeat came seven games ago against Newcastle United.
Ahead of the fixture both sides share the same ambitions, to finish in a European place. The Reds currently sit sixth in the table with the Toffees a place behind, however a win for the visitors would see them move level on points with their city rivals.
Klopp confirmed a number of players will be absent for the hosts: Fabinho (muscle) has not trained, James Milner (hamstring) and Diogo Jota (knee) are closer but won’t feature.
Naby Keita has not played in 13 matches, but could be named in the squad. The Liverpool boss confirmed the midfielder could have been named in the Leipzig squad, but after an unfortunate illness- he only returned to training yesterday.
Klopp revealed goalkeeper, Alisson, is available after rumours surrounding an injury were raised when the Brazilian did not feature in any training pictures.
For Everton, other than Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Yerry Mina is the only other player unavailable. The centre back was replaced after 18 minutes against City, and Ancelotti revealed he is likely to miss a month with a calf injury.
Positive news for the Toffees is that both Allan and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are back. The midfielder hasn’t featured since December, with Everton’s top goal scorer returning having missed the last two matches.
Liverpool: Allison, Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson, Thiago, Jones, Wijnaldum, Mane, Firmino, Salah
Everton: Pickford, Holgate, Godfrey, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, Rodriguez, Richarlison, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin
Head to Head
The earlier meeting at Goodison Park in October saw Liverpool end Everton’s winning start to the season in an action packed 2-2 draw. The Reds led twice with goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, however, the Toffees fought back through Michael Keane and Calvert-Lewin to remain unbeaten.
Liverpool thought they had once again snatched a derby victory in injury time, when Jordan Henderson netted, however the goal was ruled out with Mane offside in the build-up.
Despite Everton being winless in the last 23 battles, they have managed to pick up a point in five of the last nine games.
However, they have lost their last four games at Anfield in all competitions- their last point came following a late Wayne Rooney penalty in 2017 during Sam Allardyce’s time in charge.
Since taking over as Liverpool manager in 2015, Klopp has won seven of his 12 Merseyside clashes, with six of those victories coming on home soil.
Everton have not enjoyed derby success since 2010 when goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave David Moyes’ side a 2-0 win. At Anfield the derby gloom is twice as long, as the last time the Toffees won on their neighbours soil was in 1999, when Kevin Campbell’s strike secured a 1-0 win.
The match is available on Sky Sports Main Event with kick off at 5:30pm GMT.