We will be taking a look at the semifinals of FA Cup this weekend and it is a derby weekend at Wembley, as both FA Cup matches will see arch-rivals from Merseyside and London respectively. Always thrilling Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton kicks the weekend off on Saturday. It will be the 3rd time that both teams are facing each other at Wembley Stadium in the competition, with the statistics for Reds winning FA Cup finals against the Toffees in eighties: 1986 and 1989. The Merseyside giants have featured in a colossal 46! semi-finals between those two, with the Everton team edging Liverpool 24-22. Liverpool have won the FA Cup seven times, most recently at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in 2006, while the last of Everton’s five wins took place in 1995.
After knocking out Stoke in the sixth round of the FA Cup the Reds lost three successive matches in the league to QPR, Wigan and Newcastle before catching a lucky home draw against Aston Villa last Saturday and even most lucky win to Blackburn last Tuesday (playing down one man for almost 70mins!). It means the Reds have now won just two out of 10 league games and they currently sit 8th in the table. Alexander Doni made his debut in goal as Pepe Reina started a three-match ban following his dismissal in the defeat at Newcastle six days earlier, but now even him was sent off during Blackburn match, which means the third choice Goalkeeper will be in between the sticks for this semi-final. Dalglish’s side might have been grimed by the return of Danish defender Daniel Agger from a rib problem. Glen Johnson is still struggling with a hamstring problem and Charlie Adam has joined Lucas on the sidelines until the end of the season leaving a space in the starting line-up for one of either Jay Spearing or Jonjo Shelvey.
While Reds have spent and wasted tens of millions pounds trying to get back into the Champions League, only to collapse miserably, veteran David Moyes has continued to bring success to Goodison Park with a very tiny budget. Nowhere is this more glaring than up front where Liverpool spent 35million GBP on Andy Carroll only for the striker to manage just six goals in 40 appearances this season( well, at least still a better performance than Torres). David Moyes instead spent just 5mln GBP on Jelavic in January and the Croat has banged in five in 10 games for the Toffees. Everton warmed up for Wembley in emphatic fashion, by securing their biggest Premier League win for more than two years by thrashing Sunderland 4-0 at Goodison Park on Easter Monday. Gueye, Pienaar, Osman and Anichebe were on the mark in the second half as Everton moved four points clear of Liverpool into 7th spot. One problem for Moyes is that the catalyst for the victory was Pienaar, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and is tied for this match. The Goodison side have now lost just two of their last 10 games and netted 12 goals in their last five outings. Everton know form will count for little when they face their bitter opponents at Wembley in a match of this proportion. Nevertheless, in terms of momentum, form and mental attitude, Everton will travel to London in vastly better shape than the Reds, I think
What can we squeeze from this match? Everton lost 3-0 in the Merseyside derby (we had this bet as a winning one) at Anfield last month when Moyes tinkered too much with one eye on the FA Cup but I believe they have been taught some lessons and per me they are tipped to reverse that result by winning this match and deserve a ticket to the Wembley final of this competition.