Get your half-and-half scarves at the ready! The first ‘friendly’ derby of the season sees Premier League leaders Liverpool host down-on-their-heels neighbours Everton at Anfield.
It’s a dress rehearsal for January’s FA Cup third round tie but with a lot more at stake than making sure you’ve got your lines right!
With Manchester City and Chelsea losing on Saturday, Leicester City kept the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s relentless Reds with a win over the hapless Evertonians.
Marco Silva’s side are a pale shadow of the Blues who went before them but showed some spirit in the defeat at the King Power, something previously missing as they sldid into the relegation battle.
Everton must buck history and win at Anfield for the first time this century as well as ending Liverpool’s own record-equalling run of 31 games unbeaten in the Premier League.
It’s a tall order with Liverpool finding ways to keep on winning and more importantly, not lose. A run they fully expect to continue in the first Merseyside derby of the season.
Liverpool vs Everton Predictions
When Alisson Becker received his red card on Saturday at Anfield, Liverpool reeled. Lewis Dunk added to the sense of impending doom when he scored with a piece of quick-thinking.
And yet, Liverpool finished the match victorious; 2 – 1, almost against the odds in the end. Therein lies their strength and why they will probably win this season’s Premier League.
The contrast with Everton could hardly be starker. Yerry Mina’s big toe cost the Toffees a point on Sunday as Leicester fired home with the last kick of the ball in time added-on for VAR.
Silva’s team has one win four and eight defeats in the league so far. Away from home, things are no better. One win in five – at Southampton – and despite bad results, are a dangerous team on the road.
After failing to score in their first two games of this season, the Toffees have 12 goals in seven. Sadly, their defence conceded the same number of goals in the same number of games.
However, their only clean sheet came at Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup. That underlines their issues.
In the Premier League, Everton have only been leading for 176 minutes all season away from home. They won just one of the three games in which those leads occurred.
There is some hope for them in this fixture. Liverpool might be unbeaten in 31 (W26, D5) and come into this game on the back five straight wins, but they have one clean sheet in ten.
At Anfield, they have yet to keep a clean sheet this season which isn’t a problem if you’re unbeaten but hints at an issue if they have an offday.
Off days are few and far between for a team determined to end Liverpool’s title hoodoo. 1990; thirty years come the end of this season. Now is the time when the pressure will crank up on the Reds. Nerves creep in as the intensity of the occasions begins to increase.
And to be fair, there is little sign they cannot cope with it. If you can lose your goalkeeper and then see Adrian concede straightaway yet win, there is a depth of character evident.
Just as Everton found taking the lead difficult, Liverpool have trailed for just 188 minutes this season, 72 of which came in two games at Anfield: against Tottenham and Newcastle United.
It’s worth noting that Liverpool won every game in which they trailed in this season’s Premier League bar one: Manchester United, away.
All of which adds up to a whole heap of trouble for the visitors. The pressure is on Marco Silva from fans but his team’s performance at Leicester suggests he has not ‘lost’ the dressing room. Will that help?
More likely to save him is the awful run of fixtures Everton face in the next three weeks. Starting with this one, then Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, all before Christmas.
If he can come through those with at least one win – and the latter three all have elements of ‘winnability’ – the Portuguese may buck the sacking trend engulfing the top flight.
However, as you will have guessed from our Liverpool vs Everton predictions, it is very difficult to make a case for the Toffees to take anything from this game.
Liverpool vs Everton Head to Head
Liverpool come into the 234th Merseyside derby with 93 wins, 30 more than their neighbours, rivals and founding fathers. The remaining 74 games finished all-square.
Everton haven’t won at Anfield since Kevin Campbell’s winner in 1999. Twenty years of hurt; it’s almost worth a Baddiel & Skinner song. Twenty-one games across all competitions; Everton won none (D10, L11).
Last season, Divock Origi grabbed a 96th-minute winner at Anfield, the only goal scored in the last three Merseyside derbies.
Liverpool Team News
Alisson Becker is suspended after receiving a straight red card for handball in Saturday’s win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Everton’s chances of winning increase with Adrian taking his place.
Jurgen Klopp has an otherwise fit squad bar the three long-term absentees: Nathaniel Clyne, Fabinho and Joel Matip.
Everton Team News
Theo Walcott missed the trip to Leicester but is expected to be fit for the short hop across Stanley Park. Like Fabian Delph, he faces a late fitness test to confirm his involvement.
Seamus Coleman, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Andre Gomes and Cuco Martinez are all sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Liverpool vs Everton Betting Tips
Unsurprisingly, Liverpool are red-hot favourites at 19/50 in Novibet’s Matchday odds. Everton languish at 143/20 – not the longest odds for any underdogs this evening – while the draw is 81/20.
Despite recent history, under 2.5 goals in total is a generous 13/10 but the match goal line of 2 – 3 goals is a sharper Evens (1/1).
While Liverpool dominate this match at Anfield, they rarely do so by caning Everton. 2012, 2014 and 2016 saw the Reds win by 3+ goals but otherwise, you must go back to 1983 for a large margin of victory.
Remembering that, Liverpool to win by one goal is 53/20 and by two, 61/20, offering good value in the goals market.