Everton-Liverpool Preview

AP - Sports

While the 222nd edition of the Merseyside Derby has the chance to provide bragging rights, both Liverpool and Everton have bigger stakes to play for Tuesday at Anfield - namely European positioning and to stay in the Premier League title chase.

The two sides had one of the most entertaining matches of the season in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park on Nov. 23 in a wild 3-3 draw. Everton overcame a 2-1 deficit on the strength of a brace by Romelu Lukaku in a 10-minute span late in the second half, but Liverpool snatched a road point in the 89th minute when Daniel Sturridge headed home Steven Gerrard's free kick in the 89th minute.

Both Liverpool (13-4-5) and Everton (11-9-2) are currently in the top six and still within touching distance of Arsenal, with the Reds eight points behind the London side and the Toffees one point further back. As reigning champions Manchester United continue to scuffle in their first season under former Everton boss David Moyes, the opportunity is there for one or perhaps both Merseyside clubs to add European play to their fixture list next season.

Domestically, both teams posted road victories over the weekend to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup. Liverpool won 2-0 at Championship side Bournemouth as Premier League-leading goal-scorer Luis Suarez turned playmaker with assists on markers by Victor Moses and Sturridge on either side of halftime.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers had little worry about fielding what was mainly a first-choice lineup and expects his team will have little problem finding the jump to play its neighbours on a quick turnaround.

"The players have had enough recovery time and will recover well for Everton," he told the team's official website. "They have everything there to recover.

"The tradition of the FA Cup for Liverpool is huge. We go into Tuesday's game on the back of a good win against a good Championship side."

Suarez, who has 22 goals in 17 league games, also struck in the reverse fixture and has four goals and two assists in five lifetime matches versus the Toffees. The Uruguay striker is one shy of matching his league goal total from last season.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez watched his team pay a heavy price for their 4-0 victory at League One foe Stevenage on Saturday when left back Bryan Oviedo suffered a broken left tibia and fibula in the first half on a tackle. The injury may also rule out the Costa Rica international from the World Cup this summer and leaves Martinez with a gaping hole after he had become a full-time starter over the past eight weeks.

"It wasn't malicious," Martinez told Everton's official website. "With his level, he has shown the quality that he has and the player he can be. You feel terribly sad for him because it is a great moment in his career, with the World Cup right around the corner."

The Toffees are unbeaten in four matches overall and carry a seven-match unbeaten road streak (3-4-0) to Anfield since their 3-1 loss at Manchester City on Oct. 5. Everton have claimed 18 of a possible 33 road points this season, only three fewer than they did in all of 2012-13.

That road confidence could come in handy at Anfield, where they have made 15 consecutive winless trips across town in league play - totaling eight draws and seven losses - since a 1-0 victory on April 3, 1999.

Lukaku, who leads Everton with nine goals in league play, has only scored twice in 10 Premier League contests since his brace versus the Reds.

Liverpool has 88 wins to Everton's 66 all-time, and November's draw was both the third straight between the clubs and 67th overall.

Martin Atkinson will oversee the second derby of the season after the first saw Phil Dowd issue seven yellow cards.

View Comments (1)