Jamie Carragher has predicted that Liverpool will just about edge out Everton and win Monday’s Merseyside Derby.
The two teams head into the game in terrible form. However, Everton’s appointment of Sean Dyche as new manager and subsequent win over Arsenal has lifted their spirits. As a result, this one is difficult to call. Speaking to the Across The Park Podcast, Carragher agrees, although he thinks his old team will just about get the three points.
“I think Liverpool will win, I think it’ll be a tough game. The big thing for Liverpool is could they get a goal in the first half and then it completely changes the game, Everton would have to come out and change a little bit,” the pundit predicted. “Everton’s way they set up is all built on not conceding and not conceding the first goal, really.
“I think it’s probably a game that Liverpool need right now. There will be a good atmosphere, it’s a night game which always adds to the energy, the pace of the game will be quicker. I do fear for Liverpool in midfield if they play the midfield they have of late, dealing with the midfield Dyche picked against Arsenal. Could they be overpowered?”
To help combat the Blues strength in midfield, Carragher says he’d restore Liverpool midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to the line-up.
“If it was me I would be going back to Fabinho and Henderson even though it hasn’t gone well this season but I think I’d go back to them just for the physicality,” he said.
Thiago makes Klopp’s mind up in midfield
Ignoring Carragher’s prediction for a second, let’s focus on his suggestion that Fabinho and Henderson should play on Monday.
His old teammate Steven Gerrard made a similar point after Liverpool’s draw against Chelsea last month. Dyche’s sides are notoriously physical as it is. Add in that they’ve got the likes of the giant Amadou Onana in the middle of the pitch and the Reds might need a bit of bite themselves.
Usually, you’d have said Henderson and Fabinho would be Liverpool’s antidote to that. In fact usually, there wouldn’t be too much debate about either being in the midfield three full stop.
But this season has been far from usual for both players. Fabinho in particular has struggled badly, while Henderson has suffered plenty, too. On form, neither really deserve to start the derby.
However, the decision may have just been taken out of Jurgen Klopp’s hands. As per journalist Paul Joyce on Twitter, Thiago Alcantara is now a doubt for Monday’s game. He’s struggling with a hip issue.
As a result, it’s surely nailed on that at least one of Fabinho or Henderson will come in. Given the speciality of the Brazilian’s position, that seems most likely to be the captain. Without Thiago there to help him through the game though, you could see sense in Klopp swapping young Stefan Bajcetic for Fabinho, too. Let’s see what Jurgen decides.
Keep up to date with all the latest Liverpool news and opinion by following Rousing The Kop’s official Facebook page