By Christopher Boulay
Liverpool heads to Wembley to take on crosstown rivals Everton in what may just be the most important match of the season.
The club has had quite the rough patch in recent weeks, but all may be forgiven if Liverpool can make it to the final. Of course, this will be far from easy, as Everton has been absolutely on fire. Recent form shows the Toffees in charge, and as it stands, the club is one point of Liverpool in the Premier League table. However, the Reds and Blues have played twice in the league this season, with Liverpool coming out on top by a total of 5-0. However, since the 3-0 victory in March, Liverpool has looked less than stellar. With the club’s struggles, it may be necessary to get a positive result in order to cut down on the frustration so prevalent around the club at this juncture.
Liverpool may benefit from a strong back line in order to deal with the likes of Nikica Jelavic and Victor Anichebe. The two have combined for 11 goals this season, and could turn out to be extremely dangerous in the semifinal. With Liverpool struggling and Everton rising from the depths of mediocrity, it may be vital for the Reds to make a splash early.
Maxi Rodriguez’s stellar form against Blackburn may earn him a spot in the squad. The winger has not scored yet in the FA Cup, but the impressive showing in other competitions shows he is important when used. Furthermore, it could be interesting to see Jonjo Shelvey receive an appearance paired next to Steven Gerrard in a major cup match. With Charlie Adam’s injury, it may be unlikely for any player with a vast amount of experience to get involved. Look for either Jay Spearing or Shelvey to link up with Gerrard.
Luis Suarez will need to be massive for Liverpool if the club is to advance to the final. Whether it is Craig Bellamy, or Andy Carroll – the hero against Blackburn – someone will need to step up in order to help Suarez be a force against the Toffees this weekend.
Regardless of who starts for either side, it will likely be an exciting match for both fans. A Merseyside derby in the semifinal of the most important tournament in England will get any football fan motivated, and it looks like it will be an absolute cracker.
Liverpool v Everton
When: Saturday, April 14th 0745 EST/ 1245 GMT
Where: Wembley, London
Premier League Table: Liverpool 8th (46 points), Everton 7th (47 points)
Last FA Cup Match: Sunderland 0-2 Everton, Liverpool 2-1 Stoke City
Projected Everton Starting 11:
DEF: Heitinga, Hibbert, Jagielka, Neville
MF: Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Stracqualursi
FW: Anichebe, Jelavic
Subs from: Mucha, Distin, Coleman, Duffy, Gibson, Drenthe, McFadden, Gueye
Projected Liverpool Starting 11:
DEF: Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique
MF: Kuyt, Gerrard, Shelvey, Maxi
FW: Suarez, Bellamy
Subs from: Gulacsi, Aurelio, Kelly, Carragher, Coates, Wilson, Coady, Wisdom, Spearing, Henderson, Downing, Carroll, Eccleston, Sterling
Interact: What’s your final score prediction? What’s your predicted starting eleven? Comment below.