Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa was a win that they desperately needed. Despite the scoreline being a close one, the Reds were very convincing in their display and more-or-less comfortably reached their winning destination.
Much was due to Daniel Sturridge’s heroics and has come at the right time, before the weekend clash against Everton. Brendan Rodgers’ decision to not use the England international in the midweek Europa League fixture against Sion.
The Northern Irishman is not willing to risk the former Chelsea man in the European fixtures. Liverpool manager does not wants his striker to be tired for the Merseyside derby and his decision to rest him during the midweek therefore comes as little surprise.
Former Reds defender Jamie Carragher has backed Everton as the favourites for the clash. The Toffees are without the burden of European football and have done fairly well in the league so far. In seven games, they have three wins, three draws and a loss, and subsequently sit in the fifth place with twelve points. Their only loss has come against Manchester City.
Everton’s season also includes a glorious win over Chelsea where Steven Naismith single-handedly ripped Jose Mourinho’s side apart. Rodgers therefore has plenty to be worried about and his side definitely goes into the game as the underdogs.
Rodgers knows that the Villa win has only given him little breathing space if any at all. He needs his side to register a win at Goodison Park to make a convincing argument in favour of being in-charge of the club. Two wins in two league games will give the people who are causing the “hysteria”, something to think about.
Perhaps, playing away from home might help matters too. Anfield has become sterile of late. Not that you can blame the supporters in any way. What do they cheer? Sturridge’s multiple injuries or their club’s porous defence?
The derby, however, always gets the fans riled up and the small away section is surely going to back their team loudly at Goodison Pakr. They go into the game with a positivity instilled from Villa result.
James Milner was expected to have a great impact upon his arrival but has been underwhelming thus far. However, a goal and an assist against Tim Sherwood’s side should please his manager. The former City man must have done wonders for his confidence and he too can be expected to make more of an impact against Liverpool’s arch-nemesis.
Philippe Coutinho undoubtedly remains the club’s key man. The Brazilian has the ability to win the match with a wonder-strike and without him, the side lacks any real X factor. The 23-year-old enjoys an almost telepathic connection with striker Sturridge, something which was seen a lot of times in the 2013-14 season, but the side couldn’t benefit from the same last season as the Englishman spent almost the entire season on the sidelines.
This connection and link-up was on display in the third goal against Villa. After grabbing two assists against Villa, Coutinho would also look to carry the same form and make a more significant mark on proceedings against Everton.
Lucas Leiva enjoyed a brilliant game against Villa and he would be a key man in the centre of the park against Everton, especially with Naismith, Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku doing so well in the attacking department recently.
The Brazilian will constantly have to be on his toes for this game and his contribution could prove to be telling. An assured performance from him would mean the backline comprising Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho could have their work cut out for them.
Simon Mignolet enjoyed a wonderful turn around last season but he has gone back to his shaky, under-confident self. The Belgian once again needs to look more confident between the sticks as a good goalkeeper can be the difference between three points or none.
All in all, Rodgers needs his side to come back home with a win and three points. His position as manager of the club is very shaky and he could be on his way out if he doesn’t immediately get results. A win would mean a lot to Liverpool fans – which goes without saying – and also improve the morale in the camp for the fixtures after the international break.