John Aldridge has explained why Wednesday nights Merseyside derby will be a strange one for both sides. Both Liverpool and Everton go into the match with other matches on their mind with the Reds focusing on the Europa League semi-final against Villarreal while the Toffeemen have a semi-final of their own against Manchester United in the FA Cup on Saturday evening.
Aldridge believes Roberto Martinez will pick a much weaker team than Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp with the Wembley tie only a few days away. Writing in his column for the Liverpool Echo he said:
“Wednesday’s game is a strange one in that yes it’s a big one, but there are bigger things on the horizon for both sides. Liverpool have their eyes on another European trophy, while Everton know that their season will be defined not by what happens at Anfield, but at Wembley on Saturday. That, then, makes the team selection very interesting for both sides. From an Everton perspective, Roberto Martinez is under pressure from supporters. They’re not happy with him, and he needs results – and quickly. But at the same time, Wembley is their season. Can they afford to get an injury to a Lukaku or a Barkley at Anfield?”
Former Reds striker Aldridge believes that due to the amount of options available to Jurgen Klopp, he can afford to change things and still have a strong enough team to compete in the derby:
“For Jurgen Klopp, he seems to have a decent number of players fit and firing. That will help them, because he will be able to make changes if he wishes, without it being too much of a problem. I think we’ll see a mix and match selection in the next two league games.”
The impressive display by a young Reds side against Bournemouth and the fact that Klopp could afford to rest a lot of his first team players at the weekend, means Liverpool will have stronger cards to play than Everton going into the much anticipated derby at Anfield.