Everton and Liverpool Attempt to Breathe Life into Decaying Campaigns

Liverpool-v-Everton-001What a difference a year makes. In 2009 the Merseyside derby represented emerging opportunities for both Liverpool clubs, and all four encounters (two in the league, two in the FA Cup) produced gritty football. Ultimately Liverpool drove deep into Europe and pushed Manchester United all the way to the Premier League finish line, while Everton capped another successful campaign by reaching the FA Cup Final and finishing fifth in the league.

This time around the situation could not be more different. Both clubs are in free-fall, as Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League this week while Everton are sitting in the second half of the table. Liverpool’s financial and on-field woes have been well-documented, but Everton’s struggles are just as surprising. Usually a model of Premier League consistency, David Moyes’ men are coming off of a 3-0 league loss at Manchester United and the club’s ambitions for a new £400 million stadium in Kirkby have been quashed.  Moreover, the club has been destabilized through transfer and injury, and the downtrodden side has managed to accumulate a mere 15 points in 2009.

There are more compelling matches being played in England this weekend, most notably Arsenal against Chelsea and Tottenham away to Aston Villa in a contest that will be crucial in the race for fourth place. Yet the Liverpool-Everton rivalry is a staple of English football, and despite the lackluster performances of both sides this season a win in this match will breathe life into a decaying campaign.

For Liverpool three points are essential if the crestfallen giants are to truly compete with City, Villa, and Spurs for Champions League qualification. Steven Gerrard and company may find themselves playing Europa League football at the moment, but if they wish to avoid this trend in 2010 the red half of Merseyside will have to do the business against their Stanley Park neighbors.

However, this will be no easy task. Everton routinely play Liverpool well, particularly at Goodison Park where the Toffees are always capable of finding a late goal. Midfield battles will be crucial, and with both units hit by injury someone will have to step up and link with attack. With kickoff only hours away fans of both clubs are anxious with anticipation, as a loss could truly halt 2009-2010 Premier League success for either Liverpool side.

8 thoughts on “Everton and Liverpool Attempt to Breathe Life into Decaying Campaigns”

  1. The Merseyside has always been and will always be my favorite derby. This year, I have a feeling the game will be more open than usual with more goals than the typical 0-0 or 0-1 affairs. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

    The Gaffer

  2. Liverpool got their 3 points. But problems still with Liverpool. Everton has been dominate for most of the time. Liverpool don’t look like the Big four tonight. Liverpool don’t really have much chance to hold the possession. I would like to give credit to Reina for the incredible double saves.

  3. The best thing about the match is not the 3 points the Reds got but hearing from the commentator that Liverpool are thinking about getting Van Nistelrooy on loan in January. I hope it happens.

  4. Everton will finish somewhere in mid-table.

    Have to think Liverpool is still Top 4 material, especially when they get everyone (re: Torres and a healthy Gerrard) back. Now that they only have the league to focus on, I’ll think they’ll take a comfortable fourth.

    At the other end, surprised how well Birmingham is doing, McLeish is a good manager. Should be a very intriguing relegation battle, and unfortunately, it looks like Newcastle may be rejoining the proceedings.

  5. That commentator isn’t the only one that thinks Van Nistelrooy may be coming to Liverpool. I’ve heard it from a few people (James Richardson for one). Good news for the immediate future – though I’m not sure how good of an investment he is (he’s like 33 now, right?).

    It was a poor game for both teams. Everton can’t finish for the life of them and Liverpool have now resorted to long-ball play without Torres in the team. Mascherano got the first goal for God’s sake – nothing against him. He’s a great Pitt-bull player – not much of a scorer, though.

    I’m just happy we managed to squeak by so we can start working towards a top 4 finish.

  6. Couldn’t agree more Gaz. It would turn my stomach inside-out to see Van Nistelrooy in a Liverpool shirt, he’s United through and through and I wouldn’t want him any more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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