It’s been quite some time since one side went into the Merseyside derby as such clear favourites to take all three points from the game. However, bookmakers have this weekends hosts Liverpool as low as 2/7 on to defeat their neighbours, with Everton looking for their first win at Anfield since a 1-0 victory, as far back as September 1999.
Both sides come into the game on a positive run of form. Liverpool have scored a staggering 15 goals within their last three fixtures alone, including a 5-1 rout at Brighton & Hove Albion in their most recent Premier League encounter.
A result that leaves the Reds in fourth place in the league, and with Champions League qualification secured midweek, following their second 7-0 victory of their competition this season, Jurgen Klopp’s men will be full of confidence going into Sunday’s derby.
Despite an appalling start to the campaign, the recent appointment of Sam Allardyce has seemingly sparked Everton back into life.
4-0 and 2-0 home defeats of West Ham United, and Huddersfield Town in the Premier League, as well as an excellent 3-0 Europa League win in Cyprus on Thursday night, in which the Toffees fielded an incredibly youthful side, has given Everton fans a much needed boost, and rest-bite from the potential threat of a relegation fight, that now sees them comfortably mid-table, in tenth place.
Sunday’s game at Anfield, will be the 280th occasion in which the Merseyside rivals have faced one another, with Liverpool having won 117, to Everton’s 82.
You have to go back to October 2010 however, for the last time three points were celebrated on the blue half of Merseyside within the fixture, with goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta resulting in a 2-0 victory for the Toffees at Goodison Park.
Since then, the sides have faced off 13 times in the Premier League, with seven draws, and Liverpool coming out on top six times, as well as walking away victorious in an F.A Cup Semi-Final in 2012, a competition in which the two sides will again, in the third round next month.
Returning back to Sunday’s game, in regards to team news, it is highly anticipated that Liverpool full back Alberto Moreno will miss the game, and be out for a reported six weeks due to an ankle injury. This would therefore most likely see James Milner fill in at left back for the Reds, in a position he has performed comfortably in previously.
After sitting out Wednesday’s 7-0 defeat of Spartak Moscow, captain Jordan Henderson is expected to return to the side. However, it remains to be seen which of Jurgen Klopp’s midfielder’s will be replaced by Henderson, after such a dominating display midweek.
Everton, as previously referenced, rested a strong percentage of their first team squad, for what was effectively a dead rubber encounter with Apollon Limassol on Thursday, and will recall a host of regulars to the side, including Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka, who are both now recovered from recent injury problems.
Notwithstanding the somewhat deserved criticism that has been labelled towards Liverpool’s defensive solidity at times, the Reds have conceded only two goals an Anfield all season domestically. Winning five out of their seven games in the process.
Everton visit Anfield on the back of three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions since Allardyce’s appointment. This is in remarkable contrast to the three games prior, in which the Toffees conceded eight times.
Liverpool’s attacking quartet is arguably the best and most exciting in the Premier League, with each of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Philippe Coutinho, all capable of opening up any side on their day, with their pace, movement and creativity.
Whilst Everton are expected to be a far tougher nut to crack than in previous weeks, their lack of real pace, and an obvious attacking focal point, against a side who has conceded just two goals an home all season, realistically indicates that this encounter should only go in Liverpool’s favour. However, given the nature of derby games, it may well be a lot closer than some would assume.
Score Prediction – Liverpool 2 vs Everton 1