JOHN BARNES: No fans at Goodison Park will help Everton in derby

JOHN BARNES: No fans at Goodison Park will work in Everton’s favour… this will be the closest Merseyside derby we’ve had in years, but Liverpool WILL still run out the victors

  • Without supporters the Merseyside derby will not be as frenetic and passionate 
  • But that works for Everton who will be able to make their way into the game 
  • Everton should sit back, defend in numbers and catch Liverpool on the counter 
  • I think Liverpool will be their old selves again after their Aston Villa hammering 

In terms of the quality of both teams, I think this is as close a Merseyside derby as we’ve seen in recent years.

Without fans it won’t be as frenetic or passionate but that probably works in Everton’s favour.

It will settle them down and when you play against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool the best way is not to take them on head-to-head — you attack, they attack and it’s like basketball. It’s better to sit back, defend in numbers and try to catch them on the break.

Virgil Van Dijk and Dominic Calvert-Lewin compete in last season’s Merseyside derby

This season Everton have more quality and balance thanks to the likes of James Rodriguez

When the Everton fans are there, they urge them to attack and they’ve been caught out.

Last season, when there were no fans, Everton were the better side and this time it’ll be similar because Everton now have more quality, their balance is much better.

People are talking about James Rodriguez but that has a lot to do with Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure — two hard-working midfielders who allow him to show his quality.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will do what they’ve done all season — give Rodriguez the ball to turn in areas and be special, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin being a nuisance in the six-yard box.

Midfielders Allan (left) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (right) will allow James to show his quality

As for Liverpool, I don’t read too much into the 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa.

But they have never really had to come back from anything like this for two years — they’ve lost matches but they haven’t put in such an inept performance.

Klopp will make it known that they have to do more. If they needed a reminder, there it was.

So I think Liverpool will be their old selves — energetic, closing down, working hard. They’ll have the bit between their teeth and run out victors.

Mo Salah and co will be their old selves again and will run out victors in this fixture again

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