PL Preview: Merseyside Derby a chance for Liverpool to build momentum

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  • Everton has not beaten Liverpool in a PL derby since 2010
  • Liverpool is 16 games unbeaten vs. Everton across all competitions
  • Sadio Mane has a goal in each of his last 2 visits to Goodison Park

Everton’s run-in to the season seems to be a formality, but for Liverpool, there’s plenty to play for. Then, of course, we remember that this is a derby, so there’s plenty to play for on either side.

Liverpool has the opportunity to jump Manchester United into second place with a game in hand should they earn all three points at Goodison Park on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET. However, a loss or draw would open the door for Tottenham to pull level or even go ahead.

[ WATCH LIVE: Everton vs. Liverpool live on NBCSports.com ]

If you needed proof the Reds are looking to keep the momentum rocking from the 3-0 win over Manchester City in Champions League, they are looking to push Mohamed Salah towards availability despite a groin injury before halftime of the big midweek victory. Salah needs just one more goal to become the first African to reach the 30-goal mark in the history of the Premier League, and the Reds are one of the most electric teams in the English top-flight with Salah on the pitch.

For Everton, their best motivation might be the long drought of victory against their Premier League neighbors. The Toffees have not downed Liverpool in Premier League play since October of 2010, a run of 14 games, while they have gone 16 across all competitions without a win. It is the longest unbeaten streak for Liverpool in club history against Everton.

INJURIES

Everton: Probable – Gueye (hamstring). Out – Eliaquim Mangala (knee), James McCarthy (broken leg), Mason Holgate (ankle), Gylfi Sigurdsson (knee).

Liverpool: Questionable – Mohamed Salah (groin). Out – Emre Can (back), Adam Lallana (thigh), Joel Matip (thigh), Joe Gomez (ankle).

What they’re saying

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Mohamed Salah’s availability: “We’ve tried everything to make him available. There are 23 hours to go so let’s see what happens.”

Everton manager Sam Allardyce on timing of the game: “It’s a good time to play a derby for us in between the two Champions League games [for Liverpool]. But Jurgen [Klopp] has a very strong squad and they haven’t let him down all season. If he changes his squad it will still be strong and fresh. We have to stand on the front foot, be brave and be clinical if we get an opportunity.”

Prediction

It’s a derby, and these players know what’s at stake, but it’s just hard to imagine that Everton can match Liverpool’s motivation for a result in this match. Even with the midweek match, the Reds will keep focused and be fresh enough, and if the game is tight, Salah might be available off the bench to provide a late spark. Liverpool takes it 2-1 in a hard-fought match.