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How many more Merseyside derbies does Brendan Rodgers have left in him?

02 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
How many more Merseyside derbies does Brendan Rodgers have left in him?

They used to call it the friendly derby - but the Liverpool boss shouldn’t be expecting much hospitality at Goodison Park on Sunday

By Joe Mewis

Back in the 1980s the Merseyside derby was a very different beast.

They used to call it the “friendly” derby.

Red and blue shirts would be sat side-by-side at Goodison or Anfield, as total fan segregation was not enforced.

The 1986 FA Cup final saw fans of both sides walk up Wembley way arm-in-arm. The strains of All You Need is Love practically bled out of this fixture.

But that was then, and this is now.

That spirit of friendship is well and truly over and Everton fans would like nothing more than to see Brendan Rodgers handed his P45 on Monday morning following a derby shellacking.

The spotlight will remain firmly on the Northern Irishman at Goodison on Sunday, as under-pressure managers need derby losses like they need a hole in their head.

Rodgers will not be allowed many more slip-ups in the coming weeks and a loss to the Liverpool’s local rivals could be the tipping point for the usually patient Reds’ fans – and once you lose the Kop, your days are numbered.

Almost two months into the season and the Reds boss is still very much figuring out his best XI.

While the win over Aston Villa last weekend eased the pressure slightly, the only thing we really learned is how much the Reds had missed Daniel Sturridge.

17/2 – Daniel Sturridge to score first and Liverpool win

The defence is still a mess, with the backline twice being caught out by an average Villa attack, as Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho struggled to contain Rudy Gestede.

As in-form Romelu Lukaku licks his lips on one side of Stanley Park, Rodgers’ eternal struggle between the merits of 4-3-3 and 3-4-3 continues on the other.

And herein lies the rub for Rodgers so far in this spluttering campaign.

The squad has undeniable quality, but he is failing to bring out the most of them.

9/1 – Romelu Lukaku to score first and Everton win

James Milner would offer more if he is moved from the centre to the flanks, where width is a problem, as letting Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne bomb forward is not the answer.

The No. 10 position also needs sorting.

Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino have all been tried out, but it is time for Rodgers to trust in Coutinho’s match-winning abilities.

Sure, there are bright spots – new England call-up Danny Ings has begun to click and despite all the doom and gloom, Liverpool are only two points off fourth place in the embryonic table.

But the fixture list isn’t kind to Liverpool in October.

A trip to face a buoyant Tottenham follows after the international break, with Southampton coming to Anfield next.

A loss to fellow top-four wannabes Spurs would be bad enough, but losing to a side you’ve pillaged for players over the last two summers could be tipping point for Rodgers’ Fenway overlords.

And Rodgers is unfortunate that there are currently two top-draw managers out of work in Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp, meaning John W Henry will have realistic options to look at should he decide a change is required.

Following their superb win over Chelsea and comeback from two goals down against West Brom, Everton are side that now believe in themselves.

The same of which cannot be said for Liverpool.

And that could just mean that Sunday could be Rodgers’ last taste of the not-so friendly derby.

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