Suarez Sturridge Liverpool
Luis Suarez celebrates with Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge after scoring against Fulham in the English Premier League, November 9. Reuters
Luis Suarez celebrates with Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge after scoring against Fulham in the English Premier League, November 9. Reuters
Luis Suarez celebrates with Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge after scoring against Fulham in the English Premier League, November 9. Reuters

For the last couple of years, Everton have had the last laugh over their neighbours Liverpool in the English Premier League.

The Toffees have finished above the Reds in each of the last two Premier League seasons, and have clearly been the better overall side during that period.

This season, however, there have been signs of a reincarnated Liverpool; a Liverpool capable of not just finishing in the top four, but maybe even going all the way and competing for the title.

For Everton, Roberto Martinez has done an exemplary job since taking over from David Moyes at the start of the season, and victory over Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday will just make that transition even sweeter as this topsy-turvy Premier League campaign rolls along.

"It is a massive game," Martinez said. "First and foremost, it's a glamorous fixture. It's one of those games that is followed worldwide and the significance, the passion and the history is reflected in the game.

"This one is more important because both teams are in the top six and both have had strong starts to the season. The points in the derby will be important in themselves. All in all, it's as big a game in football you can get."

Like Martinez said, the game is not just about the Merseyside Derby. If Everton win, they pull level with Liverpool, who are currently in second, two points behind Arsenal.

If Brendan Rodgers and co. come away with all three points from Goodison Park, though, they move up to the top of the table, for a couple of hours at least, with Arsenal hosting Southampton later.

For Liverpool it is another step towards proving to everyone, and themselves, that they are capable of sustaining the great start, and the team is more about than just the "SAS" partnership of Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez - a lot more substance this Liverpool team has.

There is no better place to show that, than in the Merseyside Derby. The last big game that the Reds were up against, they fell to Arsenal at the Emirates. However, they did beat Manchester United by a solitary goal early in the season, and Rodgers will be confident his side are capable of a repeat of that dogged performance.

"It [Goodison Park] is a really hostile environment to go and play in, but our players coped with it brilliantly [last season]. It's a real good venue for football and it's a ground that will test your character," Rodgers said. "But that's something we will look forward to, because, if there's one thing that we've improved in the time that I've been here, is there's resilience in the team.

"We will lose games, but our ability to bounce back and to be resolute is improving all the time. So it will be a good ground to go and play in. And it will be great for us to go and play our football. "Every game away from home is a test of character. But, of course, when it's a derby game and the rivalry and the history of this game is there, it will always test you.

"The supporters will always have that rivalry with Everton and there'll always be uniqueness to the game. This is one of the unique cities. I remember growing up and watching the red and blue strips mixed in with each other [in the crowd] at games.

"You wouldn't find that at other derbies. It's slightly different now, but there's still real passion and intensity about it. You're fighting for your supporters and hopefully you can do them proud."

Form is really on both teams favour. Liverpool bounced back from that Arsenal defeat with a 4-0 trouncing of Fulham, while Everton are unbeaten in four Premier League games, and have lost only once all season.

Martinez's men, however, haven't found the back of the net in their last two matches - both 0-0 draws, and if they come unstuck in front of goal yet again, then Liverpool might just walk away with the Merseyside Derby honours.

Team News: Everton have not had any problems with their players picking up injuries on international duty, while Antolin Alcaraz and Tony Hibbert are back in contention after long layoffs. That leaves only Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone as the players sidelined.

Liverpool will be without Jose Enrique, who is likely to undergo minor surgery on a knee problem. Daniel Sturridge is a doubt, while Kolo Toure returns after missing the Fulham game. Luis Suarez's availability could also be a concern, after the striker's exertions with Uruguay earlier this week.

Key men: Everton: Romelu Lukaku has made a splendid start to his Everton career, but with the Toffees going cold in front of goal in the last couple of games, Martinez will be hoping the big Belgian can start firing again starting Saturday.

Liverpool: If Suarez is available from the start, he will obviously carry the most potent threat. But the Merseyside Derby might also be the game where Steven Gerrard comes to the fore yet again. The England and Liverpool skipper was in roaring form against Fulham, and Gerrard does thrive on the big occasion for Liverpool.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 6.15 pm IST start with live coverage on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD1. You can also catch the match live streaming online by going to the official Star Sports website. To watch the action by live streaming in the U.S., click HERE. To watch the match live streaming in Northern Africa and the Middle East, click HERE. To do the same in the U.K., click HERE.

Expected lineups: Everton: Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Mirallas, Osman, Pienaar; Lukaku.

Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Sakho; Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson; Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho.

Prediction: 2-2