The Merseyside Derby – Liverpool v Everton

Saturday 27 September – Anfield (13:45)


The Merseyside Derby takes place on Saturday afternoon in what is always an entertaining affair. Both Liverpool and Everton will be looking at this match as a chance to boost their top four aspirations as they have been off the pace in the league so far. Liverpool lie 12th whilst Everton occupy 14th place as the Premier League heads into Gameweek 6.

Click to bet nowTwo goals in the opening seven minutes set West Ham United up for a thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory over Liverpool last Saturday, who endured an evening to forget at Upton Park. The Hammers scored inside two minutes before adding another goal in the seventh minute. Liverpool came back into the game through Raheem Sterling on 26 minutes, and while they huffed and puffed for an equaliser they never created chances of real substance. West Ham defended well and added a late third goal to secure the win. Coach Brendan Rodgers has promised that Liverpool will put in “extra work” on the training ground to help solve their defensive problems ahead of this weekend’s derby. The Reds’ frailties at the back were brutally exposed by West Ham and Rodgers admitted his side are not coming up to scratch. Liverpool have now lost three of their opening five Premier League games, winning twice and the Anfield boss knows they need to knuckle down at training to try and iron out their issues at the back. Mario Balotelli had some good moments but the Italian is far too static to have an impact over 90 minutes. Liverpool had a difficult week last week with two losses in the Premier Leaue and a narrow escape in the Champions League with a 2-1 win over Ludogorets and although they don’t look the side they did with Luis Suarez leading the line, they would have certainly done better in those three matches had Daniel Sturridge played. The English forward will make a return for the Merseyside derby and it will no doubt be a welcome boost for Liverpool. Balotelli has found himself somewhat isolated without a willing runner alongside him to take defenders away, as Liverpool are not accustomed to playing with a target man. Sturridge has been a prolific striker for Liverpool, scoring 36 goals in his first 50 games for the club—more than Robbie Fowler, Fernando Torres, Kenny Dalglish and even Luis Suarez managed. The addition of Balotelli’s maverick brilliance will only serve to reinforce this prolific strike rate and strike fear into the heart of defences.

Despite playing some good football Everton have struggled to bag points in the league so far. The Toffees have just one win from five matches having lost twice. A European hangover offered a convenient excuse for Everton’s 3-2 loss against Crystal Palace last weekend at Goodison Park. Coach Roberto Martinez will not want to fall back on this as an excuse, but there is no doubting that playing regular midweek fixtures in the Europa League is going to impact on Premier League performances. It’s the price the Blues are paying for last season’s success. They were off the pace against Palace as three games in eight days looked a little too much for them. Martinez selected a strong-looking starting XI for the game against Wolfsburg last Thursday and was rewarded with a fine 4-1 victory. Inevitably, he shuffled his pack against Palace – Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas started on the bench, the injured Seamus Coleman missed out altogether – and Everton struggled to find any decent rhythm despite starting strongly. There have been 24 goals in Everton’s five Premier League games this season. That’s more than any other side in the division. They are the second highest scorers with 11 goals but have conceded the most, 13. Just like Rodgers, Martinez will be looking to solve Everton’s defensive woes. The Everton faithful will be pinning their hopes on Belgian duo Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirrallas for this mammoth clash. They have two goals each in the league so far and both have the tendency to rise to the occasion in matches of this magnitude. Lukaku’s strength combined with Mirallas’ speedy runs through spaces could give the Liverpool defence a nightmare.

Prediction: Liverpool

It’s been a good while since Everton last beat Liverpool, 2010 to be exact, but they did hold the Reds to four draws from the eight meetings following that. Liverpool won 4-0 against Everton at Anfield last season but with both teams defensive frailties the Both Teams To Score Market looks a good avenue for profit. Everton have scored at least two goals in all six of their competitive matches this season and with Daniel Sturridge returning to the Liverpool attack, the Reds will most certainly get on the scoresheet. Sturridge could get Liverpool playing the football they have made us accustomed to for the past year and Liverpool are favoured for the home win.

Written by Wayde Dorkin

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