Liverpool v Everton

Less than a month after Everton’s previous visit to their former home, the Blues are back at Anfield, but this time a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup is up for grabs.

Yes, that place – again. Wayne Rooney’s converted spot kick to salvage a point is still fresh in the memory and Dejan Lovren’s push on Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still causing uproar across the park.

The Football Association Challenge Cup, the oldest national football competition in the world, was the last piece of silverware to enter the Goodison cabinet, a long and painful 23 years ago.

Having already been knocked out of the Carabao Cup and the Europa League early doors, it is Everton’s last shot at a trophy this season.
Everton have lifted the tin five times whilst opponents Liverpool have done it on seven occasions.

The 230th Merseyside derby is massive for both managers, Jurgen Klopp is still looking to win his first trophy as Liverpool boss, whereas Sam Allardyce knows how much a trophy would mean to Evertonians and earn him a place in folklore.

Crazily, neither side have ever come out on top in a derby FA Cup clash at Anfield – so someone can make history.

Everton are hoping to end a 19-year winless period across Stanley Park and an eight-year run without a victory at any stadium against the Reds.

But Liverpool are in red hot form, 16 games unbeaten, fourth in the Premier League and have just paid £75 million for Virgil van Dijk to plug a leaky defence – so it is fair to say Klopp’s troops are looking up.

One to watch 

Of course, a certain Egyptian has been taking all the headlines this season, but Roberto Firmino has gone massively under the radar and will be a major threat to the Everton backline.

The Brazilian has found the net 16 times and picked up eight assists in 29 appearances for Liverpool this campaign. They are impressive stats for the number nine whose movement off the ball could prove to be the Blues’ downfall.

Team news 

The hosts will be without creative spark Philippe Coutinho and top scorer Mohamed Salah as well as skipper Jordan Henderson and right back Nathaniel Clyne.

One of very few positives from Everton’s 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on Monday was the return of James McCarthy, so Allardyce will be hoping to have the best of the Irishman on Friday evening. Michael Keane will sit this one out.

All the long-term absentees are still recovering.

Man in the middle 

Bobby Madley will take charge of proceedings, a man who recently allowed Callum Wilson to equalise against West Ham with his hand whilst standing in an offside position. So it is fair to say he is not the best…

Up the Toffees.

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