Liverpool should not expect to have everything their own way when they host Everton in the Merseyside Derby at Anfield on Sunday (11:15am ET).
Jurgen Klopp’s side come into the match on the back of a 1-2 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek that put their continued participation in the Champions League in serious doubt. Nothing less than victory at home to Napoli on the final matchday will now suffice.
Back in the Premier League, things have gone much better for them. Liverpool are just two points off leaders Manchester City having put together an undefeated start to the season of 10 wins and three draws. It is their best start in 28 years, since the run of 12 wins and one draw with which they commenced the 1990-91 campaign.
Whether it will be enough to topple reigning champions City remains to be seen, but the gap between them will certainly be closer than the 25 points that separated them at the end of last season. All Liverpool can do is put together as good a campaign as possible, reduce City’s margin for error and hope that their rivals slip up enough to offer them a shot at the title.
This season’s Liverpool have departed further from the buccaneering style that has become Klopp’s trademark. Last season, they had the Premier League’s second best attack, with 84 goals, but only the fourth best defence, having conceded 38 times – one per match on average. They did, though, tighten up over the course of the campaign, and that pattern has continued into the new season.
Liverpool still possess a potent attack, but by focusing less on a frantic high press and more on maintaining a solid defensive shape, their defensive numbers have drastically improved. Klopp’s side have conceded just five times to date. They may not quite be as thrilling to watch but that extra level of control should serve them well in competing at the top end.
There are also positive signs over on the other side of Stanley Park, where Everton lie sixth in the Premier League table under new coach Marco Silva. They began with a series of the open, back-and-forth encounters that became his trademark at both Hull and Watford. Three of their opening five matches featured four goals. Now Everton have gradually settled into a more balanced approach. Their matches have averaged a league fourth-lowest 23.7 shots and a league median 2.69 goals.
The Toffees are more proactive out of possession than they were under Sam Allardyce last season and are largely stifling their opponents. Only Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City have conceded less shots so far this season than their 10.2 per match average. They are then getting enough numbers forward to take a league sixth-best 13.5 shots per match.
While it does appear that opposing sides are generally taking better quality shots than Everton are themselves creating, the volume difference means that Silva’s side should win more than they lose this season. Given Manchester United’s struggles to date, they have a good chance of perhaps securing their first top-six finish since the 2013-14 season.
That aim will certainly be helped by their lack of involvement in European competition. While they have a solid array of options in attack and defence, in midfield, they don’t have anyone capable of plugging gaps as efficiently as Idrissa Gueye nor of progressing the ball into attacking areas as well as summer signing Andre Gomes. Early elimination from the Carabao Cup means that the Premier League, and potentially the FA Cup, can be their prime focus.
Our Preview’s Liverpool vs Everton Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
Everton’s last Merseyside Derby victory came in 2010 and it is necessary to go all the way back to 1999 to find their last triumph at Anfield. They have, though, secured draws there in three of the last five encounters, including in a 1-1 tie last season.
With a full week to prepare for the fixture and against a Liverpool team coming off of a demanding midweek engagement, they have a solid chance of at least keeping things close on Sunday. Having perused the betting lines from the USA betting sites, here is our Liverpool vs Everton prediction:
- Bet on Everton +1 goal on the spread @ best odds of +167 (a little bit better than 13/8) with Intertops.