Rafael Benítez has chance to resurrect Everton hopes with derby win 🔵 🔴 | OneFootball
Rafael Benítez has chance to resurrect Everton hopes with derby win 🔵 🔴
Rafael Benítez has sat in the dugout at Goodison Park for a Merseyside derby on many occasions but on Wednesday he will do it for the first time as the manager of the side wearing blue.
Having enjoyed some of the highest moments of his career with Liverpool, the now-Everton boss is enduring some of his lowest as he heads into the derby.
Supporters in the away end at Brentford on Sunday loudly voiced their concerns after a 1-0 defeat.
It is now just one win in nine games for Everton and a season that started with such promise — they were in the top four after beating Burnley on 13 September — has descended into disarray.
Injuries have had an effect.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored in the first three games of the season but a broken toe and then a thigh injury has kept him out of action since August.
In his absence, summer signing Salomón Rondón has managed just three shots on target in 550 Premier League minutes and no goals.
Richarlison has not quite managed a return to full fitness since suffering a knee injury which caused him to miss four games between September and October.
The loss of Yerry Mina for the last five fixtures after he’d emerged Everton’s standout defender has only made things worse.
Michael Keane has made a number of errors leading to goals in recent weeks ,while Mason Holgate has struggled to build on the potential he showed early on in his career.
It has been a tough few months and the pressure is even greater with the man in the dugout a former Liverpool boss who won the Champions League across Stanley Park.
The most noticeable trait of Benítez teams in the past has been their immaculate levels of organisation. The Spaniard’s sides have had an ability to be stubborn and hard to break down. Everton, however, have kept just three clean sheets this season.
Now Liverpool make the journey across Stanley Park buoyed by eight wins in their last ten in all competitions, including consecutive 4-0 victories in the league.
Benítez guided Liverpool to European glory in 2005 and cemented himself as a legend in the red half of Merseyside with an FA Cup win the following year. The Goodison Park faithful were never enamoured with a man with that history getting the job in the summer.
However, Wednesday night could provide a timely tonic for Everton’s current tribulations.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that the Blues earned four points from the two derbies last season, including a first win at Anfield since 1999.
These games tend to be tight — three out of the last four meetings at Goodison have ended goalless — and if the hosts can stem the goalscoring exploits of the visitors, then they would give themselves a chance.
The recent draw with Tottenham Hotspur, where Antonio Conte’s side failed to test Jordan Pickford all game shows signs that Everton are capable of defensive solidity but stopping Liverpool from scoring is another thing altogether – they are the only Premier League side to have netted in every game so far this season.
Revenge will be on Liverpool’s minds after a defeat the last time the sides met and the challenge that saw Virgil van Dijk’s 2019/20 campaign prematurely ended the last time they met at Goodison.
Form, says the cliche, goes out of the window in derbies and Everton fans will be hoping thats the case as they head into a tricky December, taking on not only Liverpool but Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Leicester and Chelsea.
The Benítez-Everton marriage seemed strange from the start but now a meeting with his ex could kickstart the divorce proceedings.