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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.

Pardew, Allardyce react to gruesome McCarthy injury

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West Brom forward Salomon Rondon had a fine match with a fearful moment in the Baggies’ 1-1 draw at Everton on Saturday, days after trailblazing club legend Cyrille Regis passed away at 59.

“He was the outstanding player on the pitch today and big Cyrille Regis would’ve been proud of him out there today,” Pardew said. “It was a fitting tribute and a great performance from Salomon.”

The Venezuelan nearly scored a few times and deserved an assist, too, but it was his fierce shot attempt that caused a double leg break for would-be shot blocker James McCarthy. The injured player was stretchered off and given oxygen during an extended pause in play.

Toffees boss Sam Allardyce said it’s a double fracture for McCarthy, blaming his players for the injury (“It was our own fault and our own stupid play in that area, James recovered brilliantly to stop a goal but suffered because of it,” he said).

West Brom manager Alan Pardew was left to comfort a tearful Rondon after the injury, and said the striker experienced the gruesome injury with multiple senses. From the BBC:

“I saw his reaction [to McCarthy’s injury] straight away, he must’ve heard something, sometimes it does really affect you and it did it take us a while to get him round and focused again. It took him a little while, but he got there in the end and almost won it for us. Our thoughts go with James and we wish a speedy recovery to him.”

Everton 1-1 West Brom: Walcott assists equalizer

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  • Krychowiak wonder pass puts WBA ahead
  • West Brom out-attempts Everton 15-9
  • Toffees level through Niasse
  • McCarthy suffers horrible leg break
  • Everton seven winless in all comps

Theo Walcott made an impact on debut as Everton came back to draw West Bromwich Albion 1-1 at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The match was Sam Allardyce‘s 1000th as a Premier League manager as Everton’s onto 28 points, seven points clear of the drop zone.

Walcott’s headed assist of a Wayne Rooney cross was deposited by Oumar Niasse, as Everton canceled out Jay Rodriguez’s opener. The Baggies sit three points back of 17th place Stoke City.

The match was delayed for seven minutes when James McCarthy suffered an ugly double leg break.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Baggies went ahead thanks largely to absurd pass from Grzegorz Krychowiak, who opened the lid on Everton’s back line with an outside of the boot pass to a perfectly-timed running Rodriguez.

What a pass.

A rare shot on target, the first in four hours and 10 minutes of league play for Everton, drew jeers from Goodison Park. Ironically, the shot from Jonjoe Kenny was dangerous and headed for the upper 90 when Ben Foster plucked it out of the sky.

James McCarthy suffered a gruesome injury in the 58th minute, when he lunged to get his leg between Salomon Rondon’s full-vigor shot and the ball. Rondon was close to tears after the incident.

Super sub Niasse made it 1-1 in the 70th minute, as Walcott rose to meet Rooney’s diagonal cross and nodded the ball into the path of the Senegalese striker.

Jordan Pickford made a pair of fine saves as West Brom looked to regain the lead, with Rondon remaining lively.

Mason Holgate headed a promising Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick over the bar in the 89th minute.

Rondon hit the cross bar in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth 2-1 Everton: Fraser wins it late on

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  • The six PL games between these two have produced 25 goals (4.16 per game)
  • The Cherries grabbed their first win in 9 PL games
  • Sam Allardyce tastes defeat for first time as Everton boss

Bournemouth beat Everton 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday as Ryan Fraser scored in each half to sink the Toffees.

The Scottish international scored a fine opener in the first half but Everton improved and Idrissa Gueye equalized early in the second half. However, the Cherries roared back and Fraser’s late winner was fortuitous but deserved.

With the win Bournemouth climb up to 13th place on 20 points, while Everton stay in ninth on 27 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Callum Wilson raced free with the first big chance of the game for either side but the Englishman was denied by Jordan Pickford.

Aaron Lennon went down in the box but no penalty kick was given and Bournemouth looked more dangerous at the other end as Jordon Ibe was denied by Pickford.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Cherries went ahead after James McCarthy gave the ball away to Wilson who played in Josh King and his cross found Fraser and the Scotland international volleyed home impressively. 1-0.

Adam Smith almost put Bournemouth in trouble as his back pass was picked up by Dominic Calvert-Lewin but Asmir Begovic did enough and the chance came and went for Everton.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Wayne Rooney came on at half time and Oumar Niasse after 54 minutes and Everton looked a different team.

Simon Francis played a poor pass out to Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s who played it into Niasse and his ball to Gueye was finished superbly. 1-1.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Bournemouth responded well to losing their lead with Pickford denying Wilson and the Cherries looked more likely to grab a winner.

Ibe wriggled free and his shot clipped the bar but finally Bournemouth secured the win as Fraser cut in from the left and his shot took a huge deflection off Phil Jagielka and looped over Pickford and in. Scenes on the South Coast.

PL Sunday preview: Derby day in Manchester, Merseyside

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Sunday is derby day for two of the fiercest, longest-standing local rivalries in the Premier League. Need we say more?

[ PL ROUNDUP: Spurs bounce back in a big way; Leicester on fire ]

Southampton vs. Arsenal — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Arsenal turned in arguably their best performance of the season last weekend, and were hammered on the scoreboard, 3-1 by Manchester United. On the one hand, they’ll feel good about the performance; on the other hand, questions remain about their abilities to compete with other top-six sides. It was a fourth straight impressive performance by the Gunners, who over the last six weeks have stabilized (wins in five of their last seven) after a rocky first few games (one win from their opening three).

Much Sunday’s opponent, who are comfortably slotted into the top-four battle, Southampton find themselves in a familiar place as a mid-table side with very little hope of catching the elites of the PL, and in very little danger of sliding into a relegation battle. Saints have hit-or-miss at home this season, as Mauricio Pellegrino‘s side has won 11 of its 16 point at St. Mary’s Stadium, site of Sunday’s clash, but have also lost three of eight games at the ground, by a combined score of 7-1.

INJURIES: Southampton — OUT: Cedric (hamstring) | Arsenal — OUT: Shkodran Mustafi (thigh), Santi Cazorla (achilles)

Liverpool vs. Everton — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Red-hot Liverpool (nine games unbeaten in all competitions, with seven wins; six games unbeaten in the PL, with five wins) welcome a suddenly resurgent and re-energized Everton side (riding back-to-back PL wins for the first time all season) to Anfield for the 229th Merseyside derby.

Only first-and second-place sides Manchester City (46) and Man United (35) have scored more goals this season than the rabid attack of Liverpool (33), but it’s those pesky defensive struggles (once again) which have held Jurgen Klopp‘s side back from putting forth a genuine title challenge. There have been massive improvements in recent weeks, though, as the Reds have conceded just three goals during their current six-game run in the league. As if they need anymore confidence ahead of Sunday’s clash, history also happens to be on their side: Liverpool haven’t lost a derby at Anfield in 17 outings.

As for the Toffees, Sam Allardyce is in charge now, and they’ve won all three games since his appointment — though he’s only actually managed one of the three. Allardyce’s debut saw Everton grind out a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last weekend, though they were far from dominant in doing so. Alas, goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are wonderful signs for a side which managed only 13 goals in as many games to start the season.

INJURIES: Liverpool — OUT: Joel Matip (leg), Nathaniel Clyne (back); QUESTIONABLE: Adam Lallana (fitness), Alberto Moreno (ankle) | Everton — OUT: Leighton Baines (calf), James McCarthy (hamstring), Ross Barkley (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (leg), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Yannick Bolasie (knee)

Manchester United vs. Manchester City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

No PL side has ever won 14 straight games in the league, a feat Man City can achieve on Sunday, and can do so against their most hated local rivals to boot. Undoubtedly, Jose Mourinho has thought of nothing other than Pep Guardiola‘s quest for history this week, and will set out to ruin the party by any means necessary.

Without the services of star midfielder Paul Pogba (suspension), expect a heavy dose of bludgeoning courtesy of Marouane Fellaini, who is set to return after two weeks out with a knee injury. The absences are truly a shame, as United have appeared — when healthy — to be genuinely capable of matching City stride for stride at the very top of their game. While City have scored nine more goals than the Red Devils — two two sides were on a nearly identical scoring pace prior to Pogba’s injury back in mid-September — United’s defense is predictably best in the league once again.

What’s more, a City win at Old Trafford feels as though it would — even 16 games into the season — all but end the title race, as Guardiola’s men would go 11 points clear of United, their closest title rivals.

For the first time all season, City fell to defeat in the Champions League on Wednesday. Prior to that loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, they had won 20 straight games across all competitions and were unbeaten in 22. Having already secured the top spot in the group, Guardiola elected to rest a handful of regular starters with Sunday’s showdown presumably in mind. As for what this particular derby means for the Citizens and their fans, defender Vincent Kompany believes the tables have turned 180 degrees in recent years.

“I think to every player it means more than any other game,” he said this week. “It started as something that was way more important for the City fans than the United fans. At this moment in time, we are the team they want to beat more than any other team.”

INJURIES: Man United — OUT: Paul Pogba (suspension), Eric Bailly (groin) | Man City — OUT: John Stones (hamstring), Benjamin Mendy (knee)