BBC Sport pundit and former Liverpool captain Mark Lawrenson has delivered his verdict for Sunday evening’s Merseyside derby as the European champions prepare to welcome Everton to Anfield in the third round of the FA Cup.
Liverpool will be up against a familiar opponent in the form of Carlo Ancelotti. The three-time Champions League-winning manager is the only coach to have got the better of Jurgen Klopp this season following Napoli’s 2-0 victory back in September.
The noisy neighbours across Stanley Park are without a win at Anfield for over two decades – their most recent victory occurring in 1999. Everton are without a win all-together against their fiercest rivals in all competitions since 2010.
Liverpool will be expected to make wholesale changes ahead of the match with the Premier League leaders having played 10 matches in the space of a month. It could also see January recruit Takumi Minamino make his debut for his new club.
Ahead of the tie, Lawrenson made his weekend prediction and has backed his former side to have enough to get past the Blues despite the numerous squad alterations.
Writing in his BBC Sports column, Lawrenson said: “We already saw Reds boss Klopp make a load of changes for the league match against Everton and I would not be surprised if he gambled again.”
“That would be a risk against this Toffees side, who already look a different proposition under Carlo Ancelotti. It will be lively too – because there will be a different atmosphere, there will be a lot more Everton fans inside Anfield for this one – but I still think Liverpool will get through it.”
What RTK has to say
More importantly than anything for Liverpool this weekend will be bragging rights. Despite being 13 points ahead of all title rivals in the league and comfortably securing their passage into the last-16 of the Champions League, this is a game the Reds simply cannot lose.
Four managers have tried to mastermind a victory against Liverpool since David Moyes departed the club in 2013 and everyone since has left with his tail between his legs.
However, if there is any manager who is capable of striking fear into the hearts of Kopites, Ancelotti will likely be one of them. The former Real Madrid manager has won four of his last five meetings against Liverpool and if he were to get the better of the team that dealt the Italian head-coach his most painful defeat in management it will be the most unbearable of the lot.