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EPL: Liverpool looks to win Merseyside Derby

Liverpool Premier League
Liverpool's English midfielder Adam Lallana (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and West Ham United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on December 11, 2016. / AFP / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday one of the EPL’s best rivalries will resume between Liverpool and Everton at Everton’s home Goodison Park.  The Merseyside Derby sometimes known as the “friendly derby” due to the good nature between opposing fans sets up as an opportunity for the Reds to stay close to the top of the EPL’s standings.

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As of right now Liverpool sits in second place nine points behind Chelsea, a win on Monday and they will be just six points behind going into the Boxing Day games on December 26th.  A win from the Anfield tenants will be their first at Goodison since 2011.

Liverpool will also be looking for some momentum as the calendar year ends, December started roughly as Liverpool blew a late 3-1 lead and the game to Bournemouth on the road.  The subsequent week Liverpool escaped with a tie at home against West Ham United.

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With the game being Liverpool’s fifth in 19 games the team has to stay healthy and fit especially for striker Sadio Mane.  When the Merseyside club signed Mane away from Southampton they could not have predicted what an impact he’s had on the team.  Currently Mane is the leading goalscorer with seven, but once the new year hits Mane is likely to be recalled  by his home country.  Mane will be one of the featured players in the 2017 African Cup of Nations suiting up for Senegal starting in January.  Liverpool will need some secondary scoring when Mane leaves, the sooner they start the better.

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For Everton Monday’s match is a chance to start turning around their season having just upset Arsenal with a 2-1 win, it was their first win in five games.  Currently sitting in ninth place 10 points out of a qualifying place in European competition, Everton can will need to start collecting points especially at home.  For the derby a win would be just the second one against Liverpool since November 2009.

The offensive load will be placed on the shoulders of the Belgian Romelu Lukaku who’s scored in nine of the last 13 games since being held scoreless in Everton’s first three games.  Lukaku who scored 17 goals last year setting a Premier League record for Everton, may be difficult to handle especially for the Liverpool backline that gave up four goals in the second half of the debacle against Bournemouth.

Monday’s Merseyside Derby will invoke images of the past with the Red of Liverpool against the Blue of Everton.  Though Liverpool will have to avoid past failures on the road if they plan on winning  and continuing to contend for the EPL title.

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