In this latest edition of the Merseyside Derby, one thing is clear on paper. Everton should win this match, they are the better team overall at the moment despite a couple disappointing draws in their last two matches. The problem for the Toffees is that this game isn't played on paper, it's played on the field where they consistently under perform and lose virtually every battle, mental and physical, to their neighbors from across Stanley Park.
Davis Moyes has only defeated Liverpool four times in 23 games and if you think that's not in the heads of everyone in blue, you're kidding yourself. In big rivalry matches, the psychology of the situation is often bigger than what actually happens between the opening and closing whistle. That psychology has been on display during the week as both managers have made public comments about the other team in hopes of planting a seed in referee Andre Marriner's head that might work to their advantage.
Everton should be boosted by the return of Marouane Fellaini and Tony Hibbert, both of whom missed the draw against QPR. The only issue for Fellaini could be his fitness and whether or not he can go 90 minutes. Hibbert played 90 minutes for the reserves this week and should be ready to go at fullback. Moyes will be forced to play Kevin Mirallas on the left with Pienaar out along with the less than exciting (at for fans) duo of Phil Neville and Leon Osman in the midfield.
If Pepe Reins can't go, Brad Jones will be in goal for Liverpool. Up front, Luis Suarez will be the man since that's really the only striker Brendan Rodgers has available at the moment. Jonjo Shelvey might start ahead of Nuri Şahin who didn't take to well to Stoke's physicality and you can imagine that this game will make that one look tame.
Everton injuries and suspensions
Out: Darren Gibson (thigh), Steven Pienaar (suspended). In doubt: None.
Team 2 injuries and suspensions
Not having Gibson and Pienaar available is a major blow for Everton. Gibson had another setback as he attempts to recover from a thigh injury he picked up weeks ago, while Pienaar got himself stupidly suspended picking up two yellow cards against QPR. For Liverpool, Reina is trying to work out a hamstring issue picked up on international duty with Spain, but other than that all their other injuries are long term issues.
Match Date/Time: 4:30 p.m. local, 9:30 a.m. ET
Venue: Goodison Park, Liverpool, England
TV: ESPN2 (U.S.), Sky Sports 1 (U.K.), TSN2 (Canada)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.)