Form Prior To The Break
Depending on Man City’s result on Wednesday night hosting Arsenal, this could be the game Liverpool clinch their first ever Premier League title, and to do so at Goodison Park would be that extra bit sweeter.
Needless to say though, this won’t have the same feel as a usual Merseyside Derby with the stadium empty, but given the history between these two, it’s fair to assume this will be as hard fought as ever.
Liverpool have been relentless in their pursuit of the title this season, dropping points in just two of their 29 matches, though they were starting to look slightly wobbly before the break.
Including extra time, they’ve lost four of their last six across all competitions, with the two wins in that run coming in extremely unconvincing manners against relegation threatened West Ham and Bournemouth, while they also required a late goal to see off rock bottom Norwich in the match before that run.
It’s unclear if the break has given the Reds some time to regroup and solve some problems, though that run of results coupled with the occasion leaves us feeling unconvinced by Jurgen Klopp’s men.
The Ancelotti Factor
Everton have seen an upsurge in results since the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti, as the Italian remains unbeaten at this ground from his five matches in charge.
Four of these came against bottom half outfits, though the Toffees were extremely unfortunate not to come away with all three points when Man United came to town, as they had a goal harshly ruled out by VAR in the dying moments and that’s enough to convince us that they’ll at least remain competitive for this one.
Everton +1 Asian Handicap
The visitors haven’t managed to cover the one goal handicap for any of their last eight matches across all competitions, and against an improved Everton side we don’t see them doing that on their return.
The case for the hosts is strengthened by the question marks surrounding Liverpool’s first team stalwarts Mohammed Salah and Andy Robertson. They both sat out the recent friendly against Blackburn last weekend, though the club insist that was only precautionary.
In any case, if they are to feature they’re both coming off injuries and may not be at their scintillating best and Everton will be looking to capitalise on that, though they have some absentees of their own to contend with.
Fabian Delph and Yerry Mina will both miss this clash, though their record actually improves drastically without that duo this term. Delph has seen just a 23% win ratio in the 13 matches he’s started, which almost doubles to 44% in the 16 he hasn’t been in the side from the off, while Mina has seen a similar rise in defeats from 30% to 50%. Their biggest loss will be that of Theo Walcott.
The former Arsenal man has the highest win percentage (50%) from anyone in the squad (excluding Jean Philippe Gbamin who’s only started once), while their goals per game almost doubles when he’s in the side from 0.87 to 1.71, so their output may be limited more limited.
Despite their lack of output expected, this game has historically been an extremely tight encounter, with a maximum of one strike separating the sides in six of their seven meetings since the start of 2017/18 across all competitions, while at Goodison Park, they’ve drawn six of their seven league clashes dating back to 2012, and so we like the look of the Asian Handicap.