Playing at 5.30pm, Everton and Liverpool will provide a second enthralling derby to follow up the early kick-off between Tottenham and Arsenal. Compared to the North London derby, however, the Merseyside derby is much more feisty. Even the laid back Roberto Martínez hasn’t let the intensity diminish.
This season has not been particularly kind to these rivals. Liverpool have only recently stabilised to take seventh place in the league, while Everton played very poorly over Christmas and New Year and are currently 12th in the table.
Liverpool’s struggles can be attributed to their lack of a contingency plan for playing without Daniel Sturridge, and this was magnified by the poor summer signings of Brendan Rodgers. Nobody arrived at Anfield an appeared ready to play.
For Everton, though, they simply haven’t been good enough. As many expected, Martínez’s defensive ineptitude in his tactics have finally come to light. Last season, he was still benefiting from Moyes’ defensive setup. In 23 league games, Everton have conceded 34 goals in 23 games.
Liverpool have won five of their last six games, so they are genuinely back to form. And in beating the tricky West Ham 2-0 at home, confidence is now the highest it has been because Sturridge managed to score on his return. Liverpool are going to be much more confident than Everton for this match.
In contrast, Everton just about scraped a 1-0 away win against Crystal Palace. To put that win in perspective, Everton had not won in their previous six league games. Now, although that streak has been broken, they could easily start another against Liverpool. As a result, Martínez might settle for a draw simply to avoid a demoralising loss.
Despite Liverpool performing better of late, they are still in a desperate situation because they have to make up ground on Man Utd, Southampton, Arsenal, and Spurs. Frustration could be a major factor in this game.
Tip one: Double chance for Liverpool or draw, best odds 1.38 @ Ladbrokes
Tip two: Both teams to score, best odds 1.67 @ BetVictor
This could easily end 1-1 or 2-2, so backing both teams to score is smart. Liverpool are more likely to sneak a win than Everton.