Liverpool eye top spot in Merseyside derby

LONDON. Top spot and the small matter of local bragging rights will be up for grabs when Liverpool take on Everton at lunchtime on Saturday in the Merseyside derby.
Victory for Liverpool at Everton's Goodison Park ground would send them above Arsenal at the top. Net photo
Victory for Liverpool at Everton's Goodison Park ground would send them above Arsenal at the top. Net photo

Saturday
Everton     vs     Liverpool   2:45pm
Arsenal     vs     Southampton5pm
Fulham     vs     Swansea City   
Hull City     vs     Crystal Palace
Newcastle      vs     Norwich City   
Stoke City     vs     Sunderland   
West Ham      vs     Chelsea      7:30pm

Sunday

ManCity     vs     Tottenham 3:30pm
Cardiff City     vs     Man United    6pm

Monday

West Brom     vs    Aston Villa    10pm

LONDON. Top spot and the small matter of local bragging rights will be up for grabs when Liverpool take on Everton at lunchtime on Saturday in the Merseyside derby.

Victory for Liverpool at Everton’s Goodison Park ground would send them above Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, while the home side could go level on points with the Reds if they come out on top.

Liverpool have had the better of the Merseyside derby - one of the oldest contests in British football - in recent years.

And manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side’s strong start to the season is cause for great optimism as they try to qualify for the Champions League.

“For us to be up there in that top four with improvements still to made can be classed as a good start,” he said this week.

“You don’t set out to finish fourth or third. You always set out to win. You have to be realistic as well. It’s unprecedented for any team to go from eighth or seventh to go and win the league. That doesn’t stop us fighting to arrive there.

“I think it’s an exciting thought that we haven’t got near our full potential yet but we’ve collected the points.”

Liverpool will be hoping Luis Suarez and Lucas return from international duty injury-free, while Rodgers’ big choice could be whether to stick with the 4-4-2 formation that beat Fulham last time out.

Saturday’s match will be Roberto Martinez’s first taste of the derby but the new Everton manager is excited as Everton try to join their local rivals on 23 points.

“I have always been intrigued by this fixture - it’s special,” Martinez said. “I realised after five minutes at the club how much this fixture means to the fans.

“It’s the feeling of being a blue or red within the same family, within the city, and that develops a real competitive edge of how you follow your football club.”

The form of Southampton has been one of the revelations of the season so far, the south-coast side standing third in the table after a series of outstanding displays. But they will get a huge test on Saturday as they travel to leaders Arsenal, who will be out to maintain their two-point gap at the top.

Victory at Liverpool and a draw at Manchester United has given Southampton huge belief and England new boy Adam Lallana said they have nothing to fear despite Arsenal’s strong start. Managerless Crystal Palace travel to Hull City, desperate for points as they try to cut the three-point gap at the bottom of the table.

The naming of a new manager may be imminent, with former Stoke manager Tony Pulis favourite - but they are up against it versus a Hull side unbeaten at home so far.

Fourth-placed Chelsea are West Ham’s visitors while Manchester United, who have climbed to fifth after a slow start, face a difficult trip to Cardiff City. Manchester City and Tottenham, among the favourites for the title earlier in the season, face off at Eastlands sitting eighth and seventh respectively.

Newcastle United take on Norwich, Fulham meet Swansea, Sunderland travel to Stoke City and West Brom face Aston Villa in the midlands derby on Monday night.

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