Anfield will host an FA Cup edition of the Merseyside derby this Friday night, with the kick-off time set at an unusual five minutes to eight.
The last time Everton visited Anfield was of course only a matter of weeks ago, with a late Wayne Rooney penalty, won by Dominic Calvert-Lewin as he went down under the challenge of Dejan Lovren, enough to get the Blues a point.
Liverpool were dominant in that game, and felt aggrieved not to come away with three points. They will be desperate to avenge that disappointment this time around, with a place in the next round of England’s most prestigious domestic cup competition on offer.
The FA Cup represents Liverpool’s best chance of a trophy this season, with Manchester City running away with the league, and a Champions League victory unlikely, and so it is vital that they progress.
Jurgen Klopp is yet to win a trophy with the Reds, with the last one won by the club in 2012, when they beat Cardiff City in the League Cup.
The last meeting between the two sides in the third round of the FA Cup was in 1932, with the Reds winning 2-1 at Goodison Park.
Key Reds duo Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah are both out through minor injuries of their own, with the saga surrounding the former’s future ongoing as well.
Barcelona have made it clear they would like to take the Brazilian this January. As yet, no bid has been tabled.
A deal now with a view to a move to Barcelona in the summer – the best solution? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/G9Eqa60c7B
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 4, 2018
Long-term absentee Nathaniel Clyne remain out, whilst Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno will not be back in time.
Yannick Bolasie, who has tormented Liverpool in the past when playing for Crystal Palace, is now back from injury and could have a big part to play when the visitors attack.
Everton have only had four shots on target in their four matches, with none in their previous game, against Manchester United. Liverpool, in comparison, have had 29 in the same period.
Sam Allardyce’s side are expected to sit in deep and defend first and foremost as has become his way, but the winger will be an outlet on the counter; someone Liverpool will have to be wary of.
Allardyce remains the last man to mastermind a victory for an opposing team at Anfield, winning 2-1 with Crystal Palace last April, and would love to get one over Liverpool again, but the game is more significant for Klopp as he seeks to continue momentum and put a trophy in the cabinet.
As much as the German is winning plaudits for the job he is doing, at some stage silverware must arrive – as it must for Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham – or criticism will follow.
A strong team is expected to be fielded, minus two of the so-called ‘Fab Four’, with Adam Lallana, so impressive on his first start of the season at Burnley, and Sadio Mané, who scored a sublime opener that day, likely to start.
Virgil van Dijk could make his Liverpool debut with Klopp saying he is ‘healthy’ in his pre-match press conference.
Klopp has confirmed that Loris Karius will start in goal, with Danny Ward to be the substitute goalkeeper.
The referee is Bobby Madley, who will take charge of his first Liverpool game this season. He last saw them face Southampton at Anfield in May in a game that finished 0-0, with James Milner missing a penalty.
Madley was in charge of Everton’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in August, comfortably their best performance of the season, as well as the goalless draw with Chelsea in late December.
This will be the 24th Merseyside derby in the FA Cup, with Liverpool winning 10 of those, drawing six and losing seven.
The Reds would like nothing more than to extend their recent unbeaten run and make it 11 FA Cup wins over Everton, as they look to have a far more productive January than they had this time last year.