John Brewin: Dismiss this Everton side at your peril Liverpool fans

Ahead of the Merseyside derby on Sunday, John Brewin believes Marco Silva’s Everton can make it a tough day at the office for Liverpool…

The last time Everton won at Anfield, the more famous footballing Gerrard on Merseyside was their goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard.

In the dying embers, a 19-year-old Steven Gerrard, on as a substitute, made a name for himself by being sent off for an airborne foul on Kevin Campbell, the scorer of the only goal.

That the younger Gerrard would never suffer another home derby day defeat and only three at Goodison over the next 16 years shows the dominance that red has had over blue for so long.

David Moyes managed Everton for 11 years and never managed a win at Anfield while successor Roberto Martinez never presided over a better result than a draw home and away.

Sam Allardyce departed his Everton post without a league defeat to Liverpool, though his claims that a 1-1 draw at Anfield and home goalless draw would have taken his team through in a two-legged Champions League tie were spurious at best. And also omitted mention of a 2-1 defeat in the third round of the FA Cup.

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The baton is passed to Marco Silva, who will try to become the first Blues boss to win at Anfield since Walter Smith presided over that 1999 win. And in the way is one of the best Liverpool teams of those near-two decades, a group capable of winning this season’s Premier League.

Recent weeks have suggested that Liverpool are not completely bulletproof, even if none of their four defeats this season have come in the Premier League.

Not that Silva will be able to call upon the likes of Kylian Mbappe or Neymar, as Paris Saint-Germain could on Wednesday, but he might have the players to cause disruption to Jurgen Klopp’s team.

There have been huge changes to Everton’s team since Allardyce celebrated that 1-1 draw last December such that only goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and playmaker Gylfi Sigurosson are likely to be named in Silva’s starting line-up of those who ground out a point in a truly forgettable draw.

In midfield, Silva can call on Andre Gomes, who has recently excelled since coming on loan from Barcelona and Idrissa Gueye, a combination which has added ballast and balance.

Ahead of them, Gylfi Sigurosson has been making full use of the freedom their hard work and control gives them, and the Icelander has starred in a recent run of five wins in seven matches.

In Paris, a Liverpool midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner struggled, and mostly because they are too similar in outlook.

Henderson’s suspension means Klopp will not be able to field that unit again, which may open up a place for either of Naby Keita or Fabinho, players who cost almost £100m between them, but neither of whom could be said to have settled at Liverpool.

Silva is much more certain of his personnel in an area Klopp has admitted has become something of a problem.

While Everton’s attack has nothing like the quality of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino or Mohamed Salah, Sigurdsson links with players of genuine speed like Richarlison and Theo Walcott

While their neighbours have been spending big bucks under Klopp, Everton remain ambitious to push on beyond the seventh place that has been their ceiling for far too long.

Signings like Richarlison, Lucas Digne, Bernard and Yerry Mina have added class and depth.

The arrival of director of football Marcel Brands from PSV Eindhoven has also pared down what had been a confused transfer and recruitment policy and led to the farcical situation of Sigurdsson having to compete for a playmaking place with Wayne Rooney or Davy Klaassen, as was the case last season.

Both have been jettisoned by a club that seeks to modernise.

A new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is at the consultation stage, while majority owner Farhad Moshiri has the funds to inject that Bill Kenwright, in situ since 1999, could never find.

After a false start with Ronald Koeman, and pushing the panic button labelled Allardyce, Silva is the manager Moshiri wanted.

Progress under Silva, a training ground obsessive, and not one who gives too much away in public, has been obvious, particularly in the last two months, during which a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United was the only blemish on Everton’s league record.

Compared to the stone age stylings of the ever unapologetic Allardyce, Silva asks for an expansive game, and even if his team are mostly on the back foot, it seems unlikely Everton will plumb the depths of having just 21 percent of possession, as was the case last year at Anfield.

Since 1999, many a team in Evertonian blue has headed optimistically across Stanley Park only to return home bowed by failure, but the chances of derby day success should not be readily dismissed this time around.

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