Derby Day 2: Of Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, who needs a win more?
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 07/04/18 7:42am
On Derby Day 2 this weekend, Everton host Liverpool and Manchester City attempt to clinch the Premier League title against Manchester United. But which side needs the win the most?
The action gets underway at Goodison Park, live on Sky Sports from 11.30am, with Everton aiming for their first win over Liverpool since 2010, and it continues with coverage from the Etihad Stadium from 5pm.
Does the Manchester derby mean more to City after their Champions League humbling by Liverpool? Is the pressure rising on Sam Allardyce to deliver a big result for Everton? We assess the significance of Derby Day 2 for each side.
On the face of it, Everton have the least to play for of the four sides. The Toffees sit ninth in the Premier League table, far enough away from the bottom three not to worry about relegation but not close enough to the top six to think about a push for Europe.
A mid-table finish beckons and the outcome of Saturday's game is unlikely to change that, but the significance of this Merseyside derby from an Everton perspective should not be underestimated. They have the chance to bring their old foes back to earth after their midweek triumph over Manchester City. Their long Merseyside derby winless streak provides an added motivation.
It is also an opportunity to show they can mix it with the Premier League's big guns despite their current standing. In that sense, it is a huge game for manager Sam Allardyce. After their chastening loss to Manchester City last week, a derby win could restore their morale and help convince Everton's hierarchy that he is the right man to take the club forward beyond this season.
There is no question that the Champions League is Liverpool's priority now. Jurgen Klopp's side will be eager to finish as close to Manchester City as possible in the Premier League, but with a 10-point cushion on fifth-placed Chelsea, they can approach Saturday's derby knowing their top-four place is practically guaranteed.
Liverpool have a commanding first-leg lead in their Champions League quarter-final, but having already been beaten 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium this season, they know the job is not yet finished. They will, therefore, go into Saturday's game with one eye on what is to come next week.
Defeat to Everton would be difficult for supporters to stomach and could jeopardise Liverpool's prospects of finishing as Premier League runners-up, but the disappointment would not linger for long if they could follow it by booking their place in the Champions League semi-finals.
The Manchester derby has taken on greater significance for City after their disastrous result at Anfield on Wednesday night. Pep Guardiola said he would rotate his side for Saturday's game earlier this week, but can he afford to pass up an opportunity to win the Premier League title against City's arch-rivals with their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread?
With a 16-point lead at the top of the table, City's coronation as Premier League champions is a formality. But clinching the trophy at the expense of Jose Mourinho's Manchester United would go down in history. It would make them the earliest title-winners in the Premier League era and underline their superiority over their local rivals.
It would also give Guardiola's side a much-needed boost after their Champions League setback in midweek. Saturday's game is their chance to remind everyone just how good they have been this season and generate some momentum for next week's second leg with Liverpool.
How Jose Mourinho would relish the opportunity to spoil Manchester City's party. Avoiding defeat to the Etihad Stadium would not alter the course of this season's Premier League title, but by postponing it, Manchester United and Mourinho would avoid an historic humiliation.
Mourinho has been heavily criticised for United's away record against top-six rivals since taking over at Manchester United, another factor which increases the pressure to get a positive result on Saturday. Can United show that they can compete with City? Supporters will be eager to see some evidence that next season might be different to the current one.
Mourinho's rivalry with Guardiola adds an extra layer to the occasion. Their personal feud seems to have cooled this season, but their history places extra emphasis on the result.
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