Liverpool travel across Stanley Park to take on Marco Silva’s Everton at Goodison Park in the 233rd Merseyside Derby on Sunday.
Form Labs have broken down the action with their betting preview and tips for the game and don’t forget you can find a number of LFC-specific bets with enhanced odds in our ‘Liverpool Specials’ section.
THE EV’S FORM VS ‘THE BIG SIX’
Hopefully the annihilation of Watford puts an end to nervous showings of late, which saw us draw four of our previous five in all competitions, though visits to Goodison Park haven’t always gone to plan in recent times. We’ve actually drawn five of six matches there since October 2012, while we were fortunate to come away with the spoils when hosting the Toffees in December, with Divock Origi netting a 96th-minute winner following a terrible, (yet hilarious), Jordan Pickford error.
However, Everton’s 3-0 win over a struggling Cardiff outfit on Tuesday doesn’t entirely convince us they’ve returned to form and they’ve still lost five of their last seven in all competitions, including against Millwall, as the other victory came over basement dwellers Huddersfield. They’ve lost 14 of 19 winless matches against ‘Big Six’ sides since the start of last season, and though we’ve been stronger at Anfield, we’ve still beaten 21 of 27 teams outside that group on our travels since April 2017, including eight of nine unbeaten matches this term.
SIGURDSSON VS FABINHO
Gylfi Sigurdsson ‘s brace at Cardiff has seen him rise to the top of Everton’s goalscoring charts with 12 to his name for the season, one more than Richarlison and five more than Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while Turkish striker Cenk Tosun only has three this term.
Marco Silva doesn’t seem to be able to decide which one of Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Tosun should lead the line, as they’ve all be given a go at the spear of his 4-2-3-1 formation recently, though you can be sure Sigurdsson will tuck in behind the striker ahead of the other central midfielders. He’s the one making the Toffees tick at the moment and so it’s going to be fundamentally important that Fabinho performs an effective screening job – what he does best – just as he did against Watford on Wednesday as his ability to read the game was on full view.
Although Joe Gomez remains out injured and Dejan Lovren is touch and go, the Croatian would have been kept on the bench anyway following a string of consistent performances by Joel Matip at the heart of the defence.
More concerning is the fact that Roberto Firmino’s ankle injury saw him leave Old Trafford on crutches last weekend, though the problem is reported to not be as bad as first feared and it’s possible he may make the cut here. Divock Origi may feel a tad aggrieved to lose out having netted in the Brazilian’s absence, in addition to scoring that winner in the last Merseyside derby, but in reality the Belgian can have no complaints if Bobby is fit enough to be thrown straight back into the starting line-up on Sunday. Meanwhile, Everton don’t have any concerns and Marco Silva has a full contingent to select from.
Visits to Goodison haven’t gone as well as they might in recent years but this is the best team we’ve had in quite some time now and the tide might well be about to turn. However, with Firmino a doubt and not currently at his best, while Mo Salah has netted just once in six matches as he too has been struggling for form, it’s Sadio Mane that we’ll turn to for inspiration. His cheeky back-heel strike against Watford showed he doesn’t lack for confidence, with his early brace in that game bringing him up to six goals in seven games, as he’s netted the opener in each of the last four in which he found the net.
FORM LABS TOP TIP: Sadio Mane first goalscorer at 19/4
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