Liverpool v Everton: Can Merseyside’s crisis-hit clubs save their season?

Liverpool v Everton

It is a Merseyside derby that will see two clubs in crisis situations come up against each other.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side go into Monday’s Premier League meeting at Anfield in freefall. They are without a victory in their past four league games and suffered a humbling defeat at Wolves in their last match.

Sean Dyche, meanwhile, enjoyed a dream start as Everton manager last weekend with victory over leaders Arsenal but his side remain in the relegation zone.

BBC Sport takes a look at the key issues surrounding the fixture.

How bad has it been for Liverpool?

Liverpool were on the cusp of footballing immortality last season; now they face the ignominy of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Their hold on the FA Cup and Carabao Cup trophies has already been relinquished, and the out-of-form Reds also face a huge battle in the last 16 of Europe’s elite club competition, coming up against Real Madrid, who they lost to in last season’s final.

But it is their league form that has been most alarming. They face a monumental challenge to finish in the top four given they are currently in 10th place, 12 points adrift of Newcastle.

After 20 games this season and a 3-0 thumping by Wolves in the most recent outing, they have already conceded 28 goals, two more than in the entirety of last term, when they finished second – just one point behind champions Manchester City.

Liverpool goalscorers

“Liverpool have become a soft touch; there is no energy,” former England captain Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day. “They are putting no pressure on the ball, it is just too easy.

“Klopp is not getting anywhere near enough out of that Liverpool team. You can moan about lack of investment, moan about players being tired physically but that first half against Wolves was just not acceptable.”

The Reds have enjoyed a sustained period of success under German boss Klopp but face a range of issues including an ageing squad which requires a rebuild in midfield, prolonged injury issues to key players – Thiago being the latest, added to the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino – and a possible sale of the club by the summer.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said on Sky Sports: “There was money there for a midfield player in the summer, they tried to get the lad (23-year-old French international Aurelien Tchouameni) that went to Real Madrid and they couldn’t get him.

“Jurgen Klopp and his staff then decided ‘we don’t need to sign a midfield player’ – that is on them. Then from day one at Fulham, they haven’t been able to cope with the intensity of a Premier League game of football and they have been ran over in virtually every game they have played.”

Hope for Everton under Dyche?

Everton began their previous game without a win in 11 in all competitions, a new manager in the hot seat and thousands of fans marching down Goodison Road protesting about the club’s ownership.

They ended the day with three points after a battling victory over league leaders Arsenal and now have real hope of escaping relegation and avoiding the prospect of ending an unbroken top-flight stay dating back to 1954.

The Toffees sold academy product Anthony Gordon to Newcastle for £40m last month and failed to make a single signing but even so, the transformation under Dyche in just a short space of time was evident last weekend.

Everton enjoyed a ‘new manager bounce’ as they outfought the Gunners with a display full of fight and determination – everything that was missing under former manager Frank Lampard.

It was just their fourth league victory of the campaign and they remain in the relegation zone.

“It is a start point,” said Dyche afterwards. “It doesn’t guarantee the next one, that is what I have learned.”

Former Everton defender Ashley Williams said: “Sean Dyche is the kind of character that has come in and given everyone a boost.

“They looked fit and up for it (against Arsenal) – and if they continue to do that, the fans will get right behind them.”

The visitors could be without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is described as “touch and go” with a hamstring issue.

Everton’s record against Liverpool in the Premier League is not great, with 10 victories in 61 meetings.

The Toffees have one win in their past 24 league games against Liverpool (D13 L10). That was at Anfield in February 2021 under Carlo Ancelotti.

Their shock 1-0 victory over Arsenal last time out came despite having just 28% possession, so how do they get at Liverpool on Monday?

Well, Liverpool have conceded the first goal in 12 of their 20 top-flight games this term so netting the opener and then staying organised like they did against Arsenal might do the job.

How crucial will it be for both teams to contain the counter-attacks? Everton have conceded the most goals (seven) from opponents breaking clear this term, while Liverpool are next on the list with five.

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