Liverpool And Everton Clash In Merseyside Derby
For a while it looked as though the first Merseyside Derby of the season, this Saturday, was going to be in danger. This is because it seemed as though the penalty shootout between Liverpool and Middlesbrough in front of the Kop was never going to end. Just as some of the younger players in the squad, never minds the fans, were getting ready to be tucked up in their sleep, the sudden death nature of the shoot-out came to the fore and Liverpool sneaked through after a long and exciting night at Anfield. In comparison, Everton’s tame surrender against Swansea in the Capital One Cup was a meek performance and it will be interesting to see how both sides react to their midweek exertions.
Then again, neither side is likely to be too bothered about the old League Cup, with more attention being placed on their league form. Sadly for the two teams from Liverpool, the new season hasn’t started with much to smile about. Both started the season with genuine hopes of being near the top of the table and challenging for the Champions League places but at the moment, both sides are languishing in the bottom half of the table. Yes, it is every early days, but there are plenty of problems and issues for both sides to contend with.
Liverpool come into this game on a poor run of league form
Liverpool have lost their last two league games, at home to Aston Villa and away to West Ham. The results were bad enough but the level of performance in both games was extremely poor and there is no getting away from the fact that Liverpool are missing Sturridge. The loss of the Urugayan was going to present problems but with Sturridge picking up an injury on England duty, Liverpool have found that their attacking menace and vigour, which carried them so close to the title last season, has been lost. Mario Ballotelli is still finding his feet at his new club and there is a real shortage of the energy and excitement that Liverpool rediscovered last term.
It is not as though all of their problems are up front though as their defence has been poor, with Simon Mignolet giving cause for concern as well. Mind you, if we are talking about poor defensive records, Everton are the team to talk about. Tim Howard may have been dubbed the US Secretary of Defence at the World Cup after a stunning showing against Belgium but at the moment, he is more likely to be seen as the US Secretary with no defence! Everton have just one win in 5 games and have suffered two defeats, including a home loss against Crystal Palace. Everton had an excellent defensive record last season but this year, they have struggled to find form.
Everton are scoring but they are conceding a lot too
Up the other end of the pitch, Everton look strong and are in better form that their Scouse counterparts. Only Chelsea have notched more league goals than Everton so far and the goals have been firing in from a number of players. In this light, and noting that Liverpool haven’t had the best defensive record either, you’d have to fancy Everton to grab a goal or two. In fact, the game is definitely screaming out as a Both Teams To Score type of match.
Derbies can be cagey affairs and to be fair, Liverpool have a strong record against Everton. They are unbeaten in the last 8 Merseyside derbies and Everton have not tasted victory at Anfield this millennium. With Liverpool having one eye on a Champions League game in midweek, and both teams struggling to keep out opposition attacks, Everton could just sneak a win which their fans have been waiting a very long time for. However, such is the nature of Merseyside derbies of late, a score draw would not be a surprise.
As for odds, Bet365 are currently offering Liverpool to win at 17/20 and Everton at 3/1 with the stalemate at 13/5 !