Liverpool talk the talk as they face tough Toffees

Georginio Wijnaldum has been central to everything that has gone right for Liverpool lately Picture: RICHARD SELLER / PA IMAGES
Georginio Wijnaldum has been central to everything that has gone right for Liverpool lately Picture: RICHARD SELLER / PA IMAGES

Many Liverpool fans can no longer recall when last the Reds won the Premier League. That, however, is not surprising as, presumably, many of them would not have even been born then.

Purists will point out that, in fact, Liverpool have never won the Premier League because, in 1990, when the club finished top of the table ahead of Aston Villa, it was still known as the First Division.

Liverpool fans – young and old – are now hoping that that lengthy wait will finally come to an end this season and that the club, which was once the powerhouse of English football, picks up their first Premier League title.

With 10 games to go, Liverpool have a one-point advantage over defending champions Manchester City. But today they face a daunting trip – albeit a very short one, 1.448 km to be exact – to Goodison Park, where they will take on city rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby.

It is a trip that Jürgen Klopp and his team will not be looking forward to, as Everton have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Liverpool winning the league is something that Everton fans do not want, and if the Toffees can play their part in ensuring that does not happen, they might even forgive their team for having yet another uninspired season.

Everton were beaten in the fourth round of the FA Cup by second-tier Millwall, as well as by Southampton in the third round of the League Cup. They also occupy a mid-table position in the league.

Although Klopp has downplayed the importance of the game to Liverpool media, saying it is just like any other for his side, he believes it is a very different thing for his opponents.

“Everton, we all know for them it’s like a World Cup final. For us, the opponent is not important in that moment. We have to collect points, as many as possible, and stay strong. If we stay strong for the rest of the season, whatever happens, then everything will be fine,” he said.

“It doesn’t mean it will be easy or decided, but we can challenge everybody, every team, and that’s what we need to show on Sunday [today].”

Everton’s last derby win dates back to October 2010, when current Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill scored in a 2-0 win at Anfield.

Everton and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford might prove to be the stumbling block in Liverpool’s quest for the league title when the sides meet this afternoon Picture: STEVEN PASTON / EMPICS SPORT

Both sides enjoyed high-scoring wins midweek, with Everton winning 3-0 at Cardiff, while Liverpool proved far too strong for Watford, running out 5-0 winners, with arguably the biggest surprise being that Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah was not one of the scorers.

Two other matches are being played today, with Fulham’s home game at Craven Cottage against Chelsea being something like a last chance saloon for Andre Arendse’s former club.

Second from last, and 10 points behind safety, the Cottagers are running out of matches to pick up the points they need for survival, but then Chelsea also have plenty to play for.

A 2-0 victory midweek against Tottenham Hotspur saw Chelsea not only bounce back from League Cup defeat last weekend, they also stayed in contention for a top-four finish.

Against Spurs, coach Maurizio Sarri played Willy Caballero in goal and benched Kepa Arrizabalaga after the Spaniard, who became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he joined Chelsea at the start of the season, refused to be substituted in the League Cup final.

Sarri, whose position at Chelsea is – at best – tenuous, might opt to keep the Argentinian in goal for the game against Fulham in an attempt to show who’s the boss.

The final game today sees Watford take on Leicester in the Vicarage Road Stadium.

For both sides, there is little to play for apart from the three points and bragging rights, although it does offer Brendan Rodgers the opportunity to get his Leicester City career off to a winning start following the sacking of Claude Puel.

The former Celtic manager was given the Leicester job on Wednesday, announcing on arrival that he was “looking forward to working with the players, staff and supporters to make the right steps forward”.

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