Liverpool take on city rivals Everton at Wembley this Saturday in their FA Cup semi final with bragging rights and a place in the final at stake.
Liverpool go into the game off the back of a morale boosting 3-2 win over Blackburn on Monday, with Andy Carroll netting an injury-time winner. Everton also tasted victory in their last game, thrashing Sunderland 4-0 at Goodison and are now unbeaten in their last five games.
Incredibly, this will be Liverpool’s 23rd FA Cup semi final appearance, while Everton have been eliminated at this stage of the competition a record 11 times. However, the Toffees have made the final on the last 6 occasions they have made the semi final stages.
Kenny Dalglish faces something of a goalkeeping crisis with both Pepe Reina and Alex Doni suspended for the game. Reina is still serving his three-match ban after being sent off versus Newcastle while Doni was shown his marching orders against Blackburn last time out.
This opens the door for Brad Jones to make his first start under Dalglish, with the recalled Peter Gulacsi set for a place on the bench.
Glen Johnson made his long-awaited return from injury on Monday against Blackburn but looked a little rusty and was replaced after 50 minutes. Fellow right back Martin Kelly is also pushing for a recall after recovering from injury, so Kenny will have to choose between the two.
Maxi Rodriguez will be hoping to retain his place after scoring a brace against Rovers, but Dalglish may decide to bring in Stewart Downing on the left. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Jose Enrique will all return to the starting line-up after being rested against Blackburn.
Everton boss David Moyes has few injury worries ahead of the game, with only Jack Rodwell ruled out with a hamstring problem.
However, Moyes will be without Steven Pienaar as the South African is cup-tied having already played in the cup for Tottenham this season.
Liverpool go into the game in poor form, despite Monday’s last minute win over Blackburn, while Everton seem to be hitting their stride at the right time of the season. However, form tends to go out the window in cup games, even more so in derbies, and Liverpool seem to always have the edge over their rivals when it matters most.
We predict the red half of Merseyside to be celebrating on Saturday. Liverpool 2-1 Everton.
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