Football Expert & Columnist
Liverpool can close gap on Everton with derby win, says Jamie Redknapp
Jamie Redknapp tips Jamie Carragher to inspire Liverpool to victory in his final Merseyside derby.
Last Updated: 03/05/13 5:29pm
Jamie Carragher, who will be playing Everton for the final time before he retires at the end of the season, will want to bottle that experience up because when you've hung up your boots there's nothing that compares to it.
The defender has had a great career, though, and he'll be brilliant in his new role for Sky Sports next season, too. He's a fantastic lad, one of the funniest guys I know and football is his life. He doesn't miss a trick on or off the field and he'll bring all his experience and knowledge about the game to TV.
He made his debut back in 1996 and since then has gone on to win many trophies, including a Champions League, two FA Cups and three League Cups. However, when you try to assess the current Liverpool side he's leaving behind, it isn't easy.
During the 2012/13 campaign there have been some performances, like last weekend against Newcastle, where the football was extremely good and the movement just as manager Brendan Rodgers wants - but then, on the flip side, there have been games against Oldham in the FA Cup and at home to West Ham and West Bromwich Albion where you thought 'what direction is this side going in?'
Everton, meanwhile, have had a brilliant season. Unfortunately for them two disappointments in March - the FA Cup defeat to Wigan and loss to Sunderland in the league - have denied them the chance of lifting a trophy and made them real outsiders for a top-four spot.
But they've really evolved as a team recently. For many years they have been described as 'functional', 'combative' and 'difficult to beat'. Now you look at the likes of Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines - as good a left-side pairing as you'll find in the Premier League - Marouanne Fellaini, Kevin Mirallas, Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin and see they've turned into a really good side.
They deserve to be up there challenging for the Champions League spots - and they won't make it easy for Liverpool to overturn the five-point deficit they trail them by in the table.
Liverpool will be determined to do just that, though - and will need a win on Sunday to give themselves a chance.
Some have suggested the Reds would be better off not finishing sixth, hence missing out on a Europa League spot but European football is synonymous with the club - they should be trying to qualify for it.
Even though the extra games can be a real nightmare, they can at least give their young and fringe players the experience of football on the continent.
I reckon they'll get that important victory this weekend - I'm going for a 2-1 home win - but expect a fast, ferocious proper game of football and a fascinating contest, as you do with all Merseyside derbies.