A fixture soaked in tradition; the Merseyside derby is upon us once again with the U21s taking the stage this time around.

Unlike the Premier League team, Everton arguably go into Saturday’s clash as favourites. The Toffees currently sit fourth in the Premier League 2 table just a point adrift of leaders Crystal Palace, who Paul Tait’s side took all three points from last time out.

The Blues’ success is partly thanks to their impressive team cohesion for an U21s side. Familiar faces remain around the squad that were present last season, with the academy’s model clearly favouring keeping an essential core group of players together.

Personnel such as Tom Cannon, Isaac Price and Stanley Mills have consistently been key players for the young Toffees, with the club putting emphasis on the squad as a group rather than a set of individuals who are waiting to be called up to first team action. This will be a key component on Saturday, a team with such strong chemistry will be hard to break down, especially on derby day.

A lot of Liverpool’s threat lies in their individual quality, with the Reds having some exciting talent in their ranks.

Listen to the MerseySportLive team discuss the mini-derby in this week’s Red and Blue round-up>>> 

Last time out in Premier League 2 action, forward Layton Stewart walked away with the match ball and deservedly so after a mouth-watering hat-trick. Stewart played a key role in Liverpool’s 5-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he wasn’t the only forward who caught the eye.

Oakley Cannonier was introduced off the bench in Liverpool’s victory over Wolves, by the end of the match he had got himself a 10-minute brace. An Outstanding long-range effort was complimented by smart poacher’s finish as the 18-year-old from Leeds almost stole the thunder from the hattrick hero.

These two talents will be key in the Reds’ bid for derby day success when Barry Lewtas sets up his side this weekend. Should they perform with the same goal-scoring nature as they have since the start of the campaign, Stewart and Cannonier could cause Everton’s backline problems.

Although Everton are higher in the current standings and arguably favourites heading into the fixture, Liverpool are only three points behind the Blues in the league table, with a win being enough to climb above their city rivals due to superior goal difference.

Everton come into this weekend with three wins and two losses from their last five league games. The Reds are undefeated in their previous five, boasting two wins and three draws.

Fine margins separate the two sides of Merseyside before the fixture. On such an occasion there’s every chance of it boiling down to the old adage of ‘who wants it more on the day’.