The first of two big derbies today pits Liverpool and Everton against each other at Anfield, with both sides looking to recover after a tepid start to the season.
Liverpool have lost three of their first five Premier League fixtures, and manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that his side appeared “broken” after the summer exit of Luis Suarez.
“When you introduce a raft of new players and lose the core of players, that’s obviously a factor and then it becomes a little bit broken and that’s how our game has looked for me for a big part of the season,” he said.
Teams like Southampton might laugh at the idea that the loss of one player means the loss of a side’s “core”, but Rodgers is right in his assessment of his players’ early season stumbles.
Everton, like Liverpool, are struggling to maintain domestic performance with this season’s additional European demands. Roberto Martinez’s side pulled off an impressive 4-1 win against German side Wolfsburg in the Europa League, but went on to lose against both Crystal Palace and Swansea City.
The Reds at home will still be firm favourites, unbeaten in their last 15 Merseyside derbies at Anfield.