Our football scribe previews the EPL clash between fierce rivals Everton and Liverpool.
Goodison Park will host the first Merseyside derby of the season as Everton and Liverpool lock horns on Monday night. Liverpool will look to paint the town red and capitalise on Everton’s poor run of form this season, with the Toffees failing to win in five games.
From the current squads, Daniel Sturridge is the highest scorer in the derby, netting four goals. The big man in blue, Romelu Lukaku, is second behind Sturridge with three goals to his name. Everton will need to be in fine tune if they are to keep up with Liverpool’s heavy metal football. All that said, this is going to be a cracking encounter, but just who will claim bragging rights over Merseyside?
*Please note that this preview was written prior to their midweek fixtures.
English Premier League | Monday 19 December | Goodison Park | 22:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Everton 29/10 | Draw 26/10 | Liverpool 9/10
Ever since their 5-0 demolishing against Chelsea, Ronald Koeman’s side have lacked spirit and have showed no desire to return to winning ways. At the time of writing, Everton are winless in five league matches.
If all goes well in their midweek encounter against Arsenal, Everton could go into this game undefeated at Goodison Park. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have been superb at their ground. The Toffees have won just one of their last five home matches in all competitions.
Head-to-head records are well in their rivals favour as well. Everton haven’t beaten Liverpool in 12 meetings, dating back to 2010. One positive, though, is that Koeman has beaten the Reds before as a manager – last season when he was Southampton boss.
Big-name players will need to step up for the Toffees if they are to get a result against their noisy neighbours. Romelu Lukaku will look to get into double figures for the season, after he netted a brace in their 3-2 defeat at Watford last time out.
Lukaku’s presence up front could prove to be the difference for Everton, after witnessing how frail Liverpool’s defence can be this season. The big Belgian will have his fellow countryman, Kevin Mirallas, alongside him in an attacking front three for Everton, with Gerard Deulofeu occupying the right flank. With Liverpool already conceding 20 league goals, the Toffees’ front three will look to wreak more havoc and add more misery to Liverpool’s backline.
Title-chasing Liverpool will look to make up some ground on the teams above them when they travel to Goodison on Monday. Jurgen Klopp’s mighty Reds have been up there with England’s heavyweights this season, and if results work in their favour, they could come into this game in second place.
In recent weeks, though, Liverpool have been blowing hot and cold. Against Bournemouth, two weeks ago, the Reds outclassed the Cherries in the first half, but then things went wrong and their 3-1 lead suddenly became a 4-3 loss.
Liverpool then hosted West Ham United, and if it wasn’t for sloppy defending and goalkeeping, the Reds could have walked away with all three points. Despite their recent setback, Liverpool are 11 points ahead of their Merseyside rivals.
It’s fair to say that Klopp’s outfit have struggled without Philippe Coutinho in midfield, after the Brazilian sustained ankle ligament damage during the Reds’ 2-0 win over Sunderland a month ago. Divock Origi has been given the opportunity to fill Coutinho’s boots and has done well since his arrival into the line-up.
Despite losing Coutinho through injury, Liverpool still have a lethal attacking trio which includes Origi – who scored in his last four games for the club – and frightening duo, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Firmino and Mane have scored 12 goals between them, and have looked terrifying when approaching the opposition half. Liverpool have also had an unlikely source of goals this season, with so-called left-back, James Milner, netting five goals.
All of Milner’s goals have been penalties, and given the opportunity, he’s likely to put them all away. With Mike Dean been given the job to dictate this game, you never know if a penalty could be awarded. Liverpool have an abundance of goalscorers in their ranks and have netted the most goals in the division (37).
Verdict: Liverpool Win & Both Teams to Score (18/10)
Liverpool have had the upper hand over Everton in recent years, and given the quality that the Reds have this season, they’re likely to continue their superb run.
It doesn’t take a scientist to know that Liverpool’s defence is in need of an upgrade; but the way that they have managed to outscore teams has been the difference. My money is on the Reds to Win & Both Teams to Score at a valuable 18/10.
Written by Jesse Nagel @Hollywoodbets