LIVERPOOL do not want to get to Wembley and think ‘if only’. From my experience of semi-finals, I know them to be horrible games but you just have do to everything you can to win.


WE have only seen a little of Alexander Doni but certainly Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini, for example, are going to challenge him in the air whenever they get chance.

Daniel Agger will hopefully be passed fit to start on Saturday and what he does is get Liverpool playing from the back.

Martin Skrtel and Jose Enrique have not quite been the same without him. The centre-half pairing of Agger and Skrtel has probably been the most successful area of the season for Liverpool.

Because the Danish international comes out and plays, he can push the midfield further up the field in the areas where it matters.

Glen Johnson has been back with the squad this week and I think Kenny Dalglish should start him at Wembley.

If he breaks down again, he breaks down. If Liverpool lose on Saturday then their season is over so I see no point in holding him back.

That back four should also be able to better protect Doni.

The big bonus for Liverpool is that Steven Pienaar can’t play for Everton.

There is not better left sided combination in the country than Pienaar and Leighton Baines.


MY two wide men for the semi-final would be Craig Bellamy and Stewart Downing. On which wing does not really matter but Downing has to have a good opening 10 minutes for him to play well for the rest of the game.

Liverpool need to go and attack Everton and play with width and pace. Bellamy and Downing can cause problems and pose David Moyes’ side a proper examination.

They can make the pitch big and allow Steven Gerrard to play his diagonal passes.

I would play a 4-1-3-2 system with Jay Spearing as the deepest lying midfielder. Then Liverpool will have Gerrard playing through the middle and supporting Dirk Kuyt and Luis Suarez.


Kuyt takes the pressure off Suarez. Andy Carroll just looks a yard short for me and so I’d rather see the Dutchman in there at the weekend. Whatever you think about Suarez, he is a really, really good player and with Gerrard bombing on from midfield, Liverpool will be a serious threat.

Some of the football they played in the second half against Aston Villa was very good indeed.

Football is a simple game which is often over complicated. Liverpool will get chances if they get the ball to Suarez’s feet in the box because he will make something happen.


I could not agree more with Barry Horne on the matter of Gerrard. If he plays well then so do Liverpool but if he is quiet then his side are too.

Liverpool can’t afford to waste his talent as they did at Newcastle. Gerrard got his head up and looked for the pass forward but had no options. He became frustrated.

IF you allow yourself to become too concerned with the opposition then you will tie yourself up in knots. Everton need to concentrate on what they are good at and the Blues’ strength is the team.


EVERTON’S back four has been the reason for turning their season around.

The Blues have the third best defence in the Premier League, only bettered by the two Manchester clubs.

It was uncharacteristically poor at times against Norwich City but looked back to its best on Monday.

After the debate and deliberation prior to the Easter Monday game with Sunderland, David Moyes will have 10 of the 11 names on his team sheet.

Howard in goal, Phil Neville – the captain and a big game player – at right-back, Leighton Baines at left-back and the combination of John Heitinga and Sylvain Distin in the middle.

Phil Jagielka has been fantastic this season and Tony Hibbert is an under-rated defender and good at getting forward, but they are going to be unlucky this weekend I feel.

The obvious match winners for Liverpool are Steven Gerrard, Craig Bellamy and Luis Suarez– you have to trust your centre-halves and full-backs to marshal him


LEON Osman is a must, especially with Steven Pienaar ineligible to play, and is expected to start on the right.

Osman was fantastic against Sunderland and showed just how important he is.

He should be joined in the midfield by Marouane Fellaini and Darron Gibson with Tim Cahill pushing on in support of Nikica Jelavic.

Osman is full of energy and will be able to help stifle the work of Jose Enrique.

Seamus Coleman has also come back into contention

Fortunately for Everton, Liverpool have not paired Enrique with a left-sided midfielder this season, someone who he can link up with like he did so well at Newcastle.

Everton’s 4-4-1-1/4-5-1 formation has been successful because Everton posess the players to make it work. Gibson is a canny footballer, who reads the game excellently and covers the midfield areas very well.

To get the best out of Baines, Everton need someone with a bit of flair ahead of him so who to choose on the left-hand side is arguably the position most up for grabs.

Before the Sunderland win, many would have thought Royston Drenthe would get the nod but Magaye Gueye has done enough to earn a start at Wembley.


JELAVIC has something special in front of goal – some of his finishes have been quite sublime.

Against West Brom, he did not hold the ball up as well as he might, however at Norwich on Easter Saturday he brought it all together.

Liverpool’s back four has been as good as Everton’s this season but I believe the Blues have enough creativity to break them down.


I DID my analysis from the Swansea and West Brom games recently and whilst Pienaar, Baines, Osman and Cahill earned my praise, there was never one person to stand out. Without wishing to speak too much about Liverpool, if Steven Gerrard doesn’t play well then Liverpool are significantly weakened. Whereas if Leighton Baines has a quiet day then someone else will pick up the baton.