Liverpool and Everton meet at Anfield this weekend in an unmissable clash for both sides, but for completely different reasons.
They are battling at opposite ends of the table, with the Reds battling for the second Premier League title and Everton battling to avoid relegation.
Interestingly, they have similarities. The last wins for both sides have been against Ralf Rangnick’s lackluster Manchester United.
The Blues won 1-0 at home two weeks ago and Liverpool beat an abject United side 4-0 in midweek.
Curiously, the two sides’ best win of the current campaign so far has come against Leeds United.
Frank Lampard’s men won 3-0 at Goodison Park, while Jurgen Klopp’s mentality behemoths beat the Yorkshire club 6-0 earlier in the season at Anfield.
But that’s where the comparisons between the two sides end.
The Reds sit second in the Premier League, having briefly risen to the top this week.
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They sit on 76 points, one behind leaders Man City, having won 23 games and lost just twice so far this campaign.
They are pushing City all the way and aiming for a Premier League crown for the second time in three seasons.
Sitting a point above the hatch, Everton, on the other hand, could potentially end the season with their lowest ever points tally in their top-flight history.
The Toffees are 47 points worse off than their illustrious neighbors ahead of the thrilling encounter against Klopp’s behemoths.
Mohamed Salah gave reporters a light nudge towards Everton ahead of the Merseyside derby against their city rivals.
The 29-year-old was speaking with Sky Sports straight after his two-goal display in Liverpool’s 4-0 game against Rangnick’s men, when he made comments suggesting he thought his side could achieve a similar result against the Toffees.
Salah interrupted his team-mate Thiago’s response enjoying the game against the Red Devils in front of their fans, to suggest the weekend game would provide even more satisfaction for the pair.
“You wait for the next one,” he told the Spanish midfielder.
“You’ve never played a derby here, so you’re waiting for the next one. It will be much more fun.
Against United, the midfield maestro held a masterclass in midfield dominance.
When Thiago left the field in the 80th minute, he had taken the most touches (129), made 110 passes including 105 to find a teammate, won seven out of nine duels, made two interceptions and created three chances.
The 30-year-old will play his first-ever Anfield Merseyside derby in front of fans and will be looking for a similar performance.
Arriving at Anfield ahead of the 202021 season, some wondered if he would fit into Liverpool’s high-octane game and be able to withstand the rigors of the Premier League.
Despite a few injuries along the way, Thiago never looked out of place and manager Klopp never doubted the qualities he would bring to Liverpool.
“People wondered if it was right for us? Thank goodness these people don’t make decisions,” Klopp said ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Thiago and Virgil van Dijk may be looking at the game with some trepidation.
In a spirited 2-2 encounter at Goodison Park in October 2020, Van Dijk was slammed by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after Michael Oliver’s whistle was blown for offside.
The 29-year-old centre-back suffered cruciate ligament damage which kept him out for the rest of the season.
Thiago also suffered a serious knee injury, following a heavy challenge from Brazilian striker Richarlison in the 90th minute, for which the player saw red.
And the Spaniard hopes another stunning display will be the perfect rematch.
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