One of the prospects that will make football fans’ mouths water when the Premier League returns after an international break is a Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool.

Goodison Park will be the scene of a lunchtime kick-off on Sunday in what promises to be an explosive game between two teams looking to prove themselves, after an indifferent start to their Premiership campaigns.

Coincidentally, both teams, languishing near the bottom of the table, have six points apiece after seven games. With new ownership looming for the Reds, Roy Hodgson will be eager to underscore his managerial skills with a win. Especially after the fans chanted for his removal in the Reds’ 2-1 home loss to Blackpool.

In some bad news for Liverpool (aside from the off-pitch disputes at Anfield), Dirk Kuyt is sidelined ahead of Sunday’s game, due to an injury sustained by the striker in the Netherlands’ Euro qualifier with Sweden on Tuesday, a game that the Dutch won. convincingly. It could be a month before Kuyt is back in action.

But Hodgson will be encouraged by Torres’ return to the team after the Spanish striker showed signs of recovery from a groin strain.

Steven Gerrard, as always, will be the point man, and Hodgson will be looking for an inspired performance from the England midfielder in what is a must-win for the Anfield side.

Everton, for their part, also have injury concerns, with Victor Anichebe, Steven Pienaar, Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell missing. Manager David Moyes hopes that home field advantage will inspire the Blues to grab three points from the game and move up the points table.

The Toffees will be looking to Tim Cahill to provide the momentum, even as the Reds will miss the services of Daniel Agger, Fabio Aurelio and Paul Konchesky through injury.

The following players were in Everton’s starting XI for their 2-0 win against Birmingham on 2 October: Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin, Philip Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Marouane Fellaini, Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Tim Cahill, Yakubu.

Substitutes for the match were: Barkley, Jermaine Bedford, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, John Heitinga, Magaye Gueye, Tony Hibbert, Jan Mucha.

Liverpool included the following players in their last league game against Blackpool, which the Reds lost 2-1: Jose Manuel (Pepe) Reina, Glen Johnson, Sotiros Kyrgiakos, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles , Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard, Joe Cole, Fernando Torres.

Substitutes were: Milan Jovanovic, Lucas, David Ngog, Jay Spearing, Martin Kelly, Maxi Rodriguez, Brad Jones.


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