Ahead of the FA Cup clash between the Merseyside rivals on 6th January 2018, Everton must first withstand a trip to Anfield in the Premier League. The double derby was a shock result of the latest FA Cup draw on Monday and Liverpool will play hosts on both occasions.
After Everton sank into the relegation zone of the Premier League, manager Ronald Koeman was sacked and the reins were handed to caretaker David Unsworth. But now Sam Allardyce has taken on the role and he’s already making an impact. His first game in the Everton blue featured a Toffees’ win of 2-0 against Huddersfield. Their previous game also saw them bounce back from a battering at St Mary’s Stadium to beat West Ham 4-0. Plenty of goals for Allardyce’s men – but Liverpool have been absolutely hauling them in as well.
The most recent goal scoring frenzy for Liverpool was the final group stage clash in the UEFA Champions League. The Reds netted a whopping seven goals against Spartak Moscow. Their superb form also means they have broken the record of goals scored by an English team across the course of the group games. Not the ideal match for Everton to follow up against.
Attack vs defence
It’s no secret that Liverpool’s front four are the best in the league right now. The quartet have tallied up a huge 46 goals and 23 assists across all competitions this season. New signing Mohamed Salah has contributed the most to those statistics with 18 goals and six assists for himself. The Egyptian is currently the top scorer in the Premier League ahead of last year’s Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku.
But with a great attack, a great defence must be partnered up. Although Liverpool’s defence has been close to faultless in their last nine matches, the mediocre players are bound to slip up again. The pressure of the Merseyside derby could be the trigger to pull Liverpool back into a defensive nightmare.
Wayne Rooney’s recent hat trick against West Ham has been a hot talking point amongst the Everton fanbase. The striker had had several quiet games and was left on the bench for a few of them, but it seems that the Number 10 is back in his stride. But will he and the other Everton forwards measure up to Jurgen Klopp’s fiery fleet? The Blues’ defence seems to be just as poor as Liverpool’s; Ashley Williams in particular has been subject to a lot of criticism.
The games against Liverpool are, nine times out of ten the games where Everton go off the radar. Liverpool usually run riot against their rivals and that’s shown in the fact that Everton haven’t won a derby since 2010. But I don’t think Sunday’s match will be the turnaround for them either.
A one-way street
The first of the two derbies will definitely be one to watch. No doubt there will be bookings galore and a glut of goals, but I don’t think Everton will be able to get themselves on the scoresheet. Despite their improving form, the Reds are just too hot at the moment – unbeaten in nine games and winning seven of those by a huge goal margin.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is one of Everton’s best players going forward right now and Gylfi Sigurdsson has also started to find the back of the net. If they pile on the pressure, Liverpool’s defence could crumble. But with the way Klopp has been experimenting with formations, he seems to be onto a winning formula to both score goals and keep them out.
It’s going to take a bit longer for Allardyce to reconnect the broken fuses in Everton’s squad and find a formula that works. Everton’s tactic on Sunday will no doubt be a defensive one, but Liverpool’s attacking force will have no problems breaking it down.
Score prediction: Liverpool 2 – 0 Everton