By Terry McGivern
How pleased were you on Wednesday night with not only the result which keeps Liverpool top of the league, but the manner of the performance?
Really pleased. Going into the game there was potential for some nerves after the draw with Man U, but this team showed why it's leading the league, with a devastating display of attacking football and some massive individual performances. I've been saying for a while that I don't think we've really replicated our 2018 form, in 2019, with only the Bournemouth game and City games seeing us anywhere near the level we're capable of, so to see all 11 players in full flow and just taking the game and the points away from the opposition, on what could have been a tough night, was really satisfying.
The 234th Merseyside derby is this Sunday, Everton haven’t won a derby since October 2010. How do you explain Liverpool having such a great record over their local rivals?
I think it's just been a case of us being a better side overall and once a few Derby wins are under the belt, I think it makes the Derby pressure a bit easier to handle. No disrespect to Everton but you've transitioned from a team that were really difficult to beat, to one that is trying to play football and I'm not sure you have ever quite got there. It probably started with Martinez in 2013 and he came closest, but when he couldn't break that run of not winning a Derby the pressure of the record has weighed on subsequent managers and in addition, all of manager turmoil over the last 3 years hasn't made it any easier for Everton.
There is an old saying that form goes out the window when it comes to derby games, with that said are you confident that Liverpool can go to Goodison and win? Give me your line and up and your thoughts on how Liverpool go about winning Sunday?
It's become a bit of a cliché that term but I can understand the thinking behind it. Passion can trump ability in some circumstances and sometimes Derbies are the catalyst to turn a season around. However, this Liverpool team is a different beast to previous years and it really is hard to pinpoint a weakness that Everton can target. Not to mention that if there is one there, do they have the players to take advantage of it? I am confident that we can go to Goodison and win on Sunday and would go with a team of; Allison, Robertson, VVD, Matip, TAA, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Salah, Mane and Firmino (if fit). If Firmino is unavailable I'd stick with Origi as he has form in Derby and gave a very good account of himself in the win against Watford.
In terms of how Liverpool win, I think it depends on Everton. If they press us, I think they'll be hurt by our pace in the turnover of possession and the counterattacks that we can launch, which everyone knows can be devastating. If you sit back against us, I think we showed against Watford we have the quality on set pieces and crosses to hurt any side. With the quality of delivery Trent Alexander-Arnold (and Andy Robertson) showed on Wednesday and a notoriously fragile Everton backline, I definitely think we could get goals from deliveries off the flanks.
Finally, if you could bring any ex Liverpool player you’ve seen in his prime back for Sunday, who would it be and why?
Without any hesitation, Luis Suarez. The man was made for the Merseyside derby. He was not only a supremely gifted footballer, who could make something happen at will, he was also a real competitor and loved a battle. Those attributes are vital in a Derby and the thought of him linking up with Mane and Salah (assuming Firmino is out), is enough to get any red drooling.
I also think as well as on the pitch ability, Suarez also had that sense of humour that can sometimes make Derby's so special and make them stick in the memory, the David Moyes dive for instance. He could take the opposing team's fans taunts/opposition manager mindgames and turn it against them in a way where, whilst it annoys them, they're also forced to begrudgingly respect it. With all that being the case, I can think of no-one better to come into this Liverpool team, if I could make it happen, but hopefully we won't need him and it'll be a comfortable win for the reds regardless.