Saturday, 6 February 2010

In-form Mersey duo set for latest local tussle

It says much for the motivational and coaching skills of David Moyes and Rafa Benitez that both Everton and Liverpool are in such good form going into the Merseyside derby this weekend.

When the teams last clashed, a little over nine weeks ago, both clubs were virtually on their knees, their fans stunned by an astonishing loss of form that saw their pre-season expectations ripped to shreds before the Christmas decorations had even been put up.

In late November Liverpool had just been cast out of the Champions League and had suffered five defeats in 13 matches. Everton hadn't won in ten and had just lost 3-2 at Hull, a performance David Moyes described at the worst in his time at the club.

The last Merseyside derby was seen by both clubs as a chance to turn their season around. Things appeared to be favouring the red side of Merseyside when Javier Mascherano's wild shot deflected off Joseph Yobo and into the Gwladys Street net after just 12 minutes. Indeed lady luck was on Liverpool's side that day, with Everton enjoying the lion's share of the possession but failing put the ball past the impressive Pepe Reina, before Dirk Kuyt sealed the points late on.

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