Liverpool v Everton, FA Cup Semi Final, Sat 12:30
With the pair placed directly next to one another as far as the league is concerned, Liverpool and Everton will be hoping to gain an edge over one another as well as considerable bragging rights when they meet in this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final as Paddy Power just about peg Liverpool to prove triumphant at Wembley at odds against.
Going into the early kick-off, Everton would appear to hold the advantage over their Merseyside rivals as they currently sit in seventh spot in the Premier League, precisely one point and one position better off than Liverpool.
The Toffees would also understandably have the happier set of fans as far as recent form is concerned after going their last five matches unbeaten, including last weekend’s 4-0 victory over Sunderland; something even the biggest of English clubs have failed to accomplish since Martin O’Neill’s appointment at the North East outfit.
This particular Merseyside derby will be a strange one just because there is no home advantage to refer to.
The pair actually met in the 2008-09 instalment of the FA Cup and after a fourth round replay, it was Everton who came out of that meeting as the winning outfit.
That being said, the Reds have come out on top in the last two league meetings between the two, one of which came at Goodison Park.
One factor bound to play a huge role in this match will be based upon who’s between the sticks for Liverpool.
Pepe Reina is still suspended after his red card against Newcastle and in an almost ‘too unfortunate to be true’ turn of events, Alexander Doni also saw red during the midweek win over Blackburn.
Brad Jones was the man turned to in the club’s moment of despair and produced a penalty-saving (albeit also a penalty-giving) display that was eventually good enough to see Liverpool through after a late Andy Carroll header proved the winner.
However, Jones looked shaky at times and with recalled-from-loan ‘keeper, Péter Gulácsi, the only substitute to turn to, Kenny Dalglish will be praying not to see another goalkeeping mishap.
Everton looked extremely impressive over the weekend and after both teams rested particular stars this week, team selection will be an interesting factor this weekend as we wait in anticipation to see which half of Merseyside will rejoice in gaining a place in this season’s FA Cup final.