Liverpool V Everton at Anfield : Match Preview

27 January 2014 04:31
Liverpool V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Rodgers laments derby injury crises

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits weakened teams on both sides may well make it difficult for the 222nd Merseyside derby to match this season's earlier encounter at Goodison Park.

The Reds are missing defenders Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho, Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique and midfielder Lucas Leiva while Everton could have up to nine players missing at Anfield on Tuesday.

Rodgers is hopeful Joe Allen will be sufficiently recovered from a hamstring problem to bolster the midfield but if they are to reproduce another exciting 3-3 draw like the one back in November it may be as a result of mistakes from patched-up teams.

"We need to see with Joe," Rodgers said. "He was on the training field today but it is a case of assessing as to whether it will push him too much for this game because we don't want another injury in a key area.

"If we had a raft of players we could put him in and if he came out (injured) we could put someone else in

"We have to think not only for tomorrow night but for the next few weeks.

"There is still going to be quality players and the football ideas of both teams will come out but it is unfortunate a number of players are out of the game - and a lot of them starting players - it would've made it a different game.

"It is unfortunate both teams are coming into the game with not the strongest squads because both have picked up injuries."

Rodgers, who last week had only 15 players fit for training, has been trying to fill out his squad and while he has been looking at loan deals he insists he will not "stockpile" players who are not going to improve his first team.

Victory over Everton would put four points between the fourth-placed Reds and their near-neighbours while defeat would see them concede superiority in the table and be another dent to their Champions League hopes.

"It is a very important game as a victory puts us four points clear. Our home form over the course of the season has been brilliant," said Rodgers.

"Looking at our team when we have everyone available we are a very strong outfit.

"I have great confidence in the team of players and for us the key is Champions League qualification.

"When I came in here Everton had finished above Liverpool and last season finished above us also.

"Everton's basis is a good defensive record, still stable from what they have been over a few years - we are a team who have upped the ante in terms of our offensiveness."

Midfielder Leon Osman insists the days of Everton living in Liverpool's shadow are long gone.

The Reds may have a bigger trophy cabinet and worldwide profile, but the Toffees have finished above them in the league in the last two seasons and sit just a point behind them in fifth in this season's table.

Manager Roberto Martinez's arrival in the summer has brought a more positive outlook at Goodison Park and Everton head to Anfield on Tuesday more confident than previous years that they can secure their first league victory there this century.

"It is hard to live in their shadow when we've finished above them the last two seasons," said Osman.

"We hadn't won at Manchester United for 21 years or so and we went there and did that (last month) on our first attempt under the new manager.

"It is probably more of a hurdle on paper than it is within the dressing room or our minds because we are positive and under the new manager we are confident we can go there and win.

"I am sure we will attack them as the manager has one way of playing and he won't want to change that just because we're going to Anfield.

"I am sure we will go there and play the same positive football we have been playing all season and probably expect to come away winning the game."

Source: PA