Suppose we best get it over and done with then, hadn’t we?
It’s the two hundredth and something – write it in Roman Numerals if that’s your thing – Merseyside derby of all time, to be played at the quite beautiful Goodison Park at a on-it all-day-and night-tastic half five evening kick off. Despite the bizzies best efforts to spoil it.
It’s usually one of trepidation but we’ve been largely gunk for the past couple of months so we’ve been pained enough and thus built a tolerance. The clear favourite going into it are everyone’s favourite top of the all time form league table boys in red so the pressure isn’t so much on us. And it feels nice. Plus this whole biting our fingernails over them isn’t really productive towards creating ace derby memories. They may be on blob at the moment but a look over their team and performances doesn’t leave a truck load to fear.
This is the point where I acknowledge that despite this they’ll find some way of spawning it with the aid of the referee or even if they don’t then we’ll work out a way to hand it to them, but I’m not that arsed writing this. I mean we’re on a winning run ourselves, right? Right?
Winning runs gotta start somewhere and ours probably didn’t start at Crystal Palace but we got a much needed three points. A couple more of them and we’ll be comfortably numb. It’s preferable to having flashbacks to the nineties and scanning the forthcoming fixtures for desperate points. It was a game of little quality against Palace but it was won in the end by us reverting to working harder than the opposition and remembering that we can defend. Such attitudes are forged in the unforgiving deserts/top of the range training facilities of Qatar don’t you know?
So we can welcome Liverpool and their travelling hordes to Merseyside not as on edge as maybe we were a week ago. And certainly nothing that six pints or more can’t induce in the run up to the game.
We’re meant to be a bit part in Saturday’s main event as The Matthews Final gets it’s blockbuster for the modern days with The Gerrard Derby; maybe you’ve seen it advertised on Sky as Liverpool v Liverpool. We’re nothing more than sexually frustrated bridegrooms as Steven Gerrard marries himself in the crescendo to the best ever career since football began again with Murdoch’s help in 1992.
And that’s my last mention of him with the increasingly etch-a-sketch-face as his narcissism needs feeding no more, and out of the approximately four people who read these previews I am confident he’s not one.
If we do have one thing in common with Liverpool it’s that both of our managers can’t help themselves talking to the media, and in the manner of a first time Supervisor doing a Team Meeting after multiple cups of coffee.
Rodgers has been flashing his designer teeth from Cricket in Cavern Walks at the media all week about how Liverpool are BACK and how dangerous they’re gonna be to the league right now, well maybe not right now but defo next season OK? The talk of a man high on the confidence of a new relationship, a man in love. A man whose midlife crisis is the perfect backdrop to the heaving amount of averageness that Liverpool currently operate in and amongst.
Their latest system is three at the back and loads of through balls as though you’re playing ISS Pro in 1997 and all you got is Valderama in the team. But if the ball is longer than 40 yards it’s not long ball, silly. It’s a strategic ball worked hard on in Melwood. Only the bitters play long balls on Merseyside.
Wish we did play more long balls if I’m being honest.
We can expect Sturridge at some point in the game but with him easing back into the team after a five month layoff it could be Borini to start and Sturridge to come on later. Sterling has been scoring goals of late and his pace and propensity to win penalties – one of up to seven in the team with this unlocked special talent – will mean our defence will have to continue it’s recent found micro-confidence.
Lallana and Markovic are carrying knocks but their main man in the middle now is apparently Coutinho who has been in a bit of form for the past couple of games, just in case you didn’t hear about it. No doubt the aforementioned captain will get his start and for all those watching on Sky the default will be his player cam for the game, but you can press red for traditional views of the action itself. Rapidly becoming an annoying little beaut is the ugly screff Jordan Henderson who in the true fashion of a phoney second cock of the class is trying his best to be captain fantastic’s heir to the throne, despite being not all that. I hope someone leaves their foot in from our end on him as he’d due a piping down and I have no doubt he’ll wilt like Chernobyl sunflower in the hot summer of 86. If not, then a vicious physical smiting of Henderson’s idol would be actually preferable. Lucas will be there somewhere and he’s my pick of their midfield, he’s a better version of John Ebbrell and does the important things in the middle.
Defence is a whole new project as mentioned before. Move aside Beckenbauer, Emre Can’s just out passed Bolton so just watch out Everton. The sleazy texan isn’t a real defender and it’s likely that we will get some space around him, Sakho and Skrtel if we’re arsed up front. Moreno is left back and I’m not sure who’s at right back, is Glen Johnson fit and playing there? Mignolet has recovered from bad nerves and retains his place as the best pound for pound keeper in that there Europe.
And that’s your Libberpuwlfubbelklub, apart from the fans.
It’s at this point where I raise a toast to them because it’s not particularly difficult for us to look half decent and sound when you have the complete contrast of them as your rivals. I always make the point though – the clueless flutes you encounter on the internet and social media are not reflective of the many sound ones who share a city, family and even a bed with us. Sure they’re a bit excitable and prone to elaborate dreaming and paranoia but there’s some good sorts.
Then there’s the endless sleet of the majority Liverpool fan which, well, you just know don’t you? Shhhh and stop being so bitter der. His dar was from Breck Road alright? HAHAHAHAHA BITTER BLOOES. (inserts ten smiles to accentuate point). What have yer won den?
We won by not being you. Perhaps even the greatest of prizes.
Time to move a mile across the park into the blue half of the city. Well if I’m being accurate that really is the north of the city, while the Nike Air Max wearing south of the city are more prevalent in the ways of classical ambulance rocking.
Lukaku got another important goal which was well spawned and turned out to be the winner against Palace. You can see that he’s playing himself into form of sorts but he needs some settled extra help up there. Whether that’s Naismith reaching last season’s levels, Barkley remembering he’s ace or a leftfield option like playing two strikers up there with presumably Kone then I hope we find out soon. For this game I reckon it will be the melanin devoid Naismith.
Hopefully the scourge of first half of the season Everton is on its way out with our weird winger Eto’o swerving us for Sampdoria and the arrival of Aaron Lennon. Eto’o leaving and Lennon arriving needs to be put into context as something hard to put a positive spin on but it’s the knock on effect to others that we may feel the real benefit. We’ve been crying out for some genuine width and pace, someone to make the pitch as wide as possible for a very thin and pedestrian Everton. And we need someone to help Coleman re find his mojo. Time will tell.
Personally I wouldn’t play Mirallas, I know this is akin to swerving Drenthe in the semi final a few years ago in some of your eyes but the little weird eyed gobshite needs to reign it in a bit when he’s earning great wedge for missing loads of games with his hamstrings. And anyway we got McGeady. No?
McCarthy is not quite there to start but should be reassuringly on the bench at least which means we’re likely to have a keep-it-quiet-but-he’s-looking-alright Barry and over hyped current darling of the Lower Gwladys Street in Besic. All tattoos and jarg snarls. I’m not saying he’s a bad player, on the contrary he’s looking sound week by week and his tenacity will be needed for this game. Until he catches Coutinho later and one of theirs convinces the referee to send him off anyway. Let’s just give him some time without serving him up as our next great white hope. He looks sound for the money though.
Stones and Jagielka in defence is our comfort blanket as the rest of our central defenders have certain issues. Baines and Coleman will be full backs and with some luck or usually absent derby panache we will get some space to run into against Liverpool’s wing backs pushed high up the pitch. Perhaps they’ll wilt and we’ll lament them as shithouses. We’ll soon find out. Robles should rightfully start in goal as we all try and not mention him so we hope he continues to improve and doesn’t throw the ball in his own net as we half anticipate for this game. May the haunting ghost of Jason Kearton leave him at peace.
See? It’s no thing really. It’s a game at home against a team who we can more than get a result against. It’s all in your heads.
So save the anxiety for driving your van across an elevated highway by the airport in Taiwan and appreciate a fine Saturday opportunity to be social and watch Everton in a boss game of togger.