Liverpool fans were hoping their team would have had a chance to win the Premier League at Goodison Park, to really rub the noses of their local rivals in it.
Unfortunately for them, their dreams of doing so rested on Arsenal winning at the Etihad, which even before David Luiz entered the fray was pretty unlikely.
City won with ease, leaving Jurgen Klopp’s team still requiring six more points to be certain of winning the league. But, victory against Everton would leave them ready to burst through the finishing tape.
And there’s no sugar coating it, the Toffees’ recent record in the Merseyside derby is abysmal. The Reds are unbeaten in their last 21 meetings with the Blues in all competitions, and if they avoid defeat here then Liverpool will equal the club’s record for their longest unbeaten run against any team ever.
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Everton haven’t beaten their bitterest rivals for almost decade, and as Roy Hodgson was in charge of them at the time, most Kopites refuse to acknowledge it as a real game anyway. The match was so long ago, the Blues’ second goal that day was scored by the current Arsenal manager.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for Carlo Ancelotti. The Toffees may have lost 3-1 to Manchester City at Goodison Park this season, but they beat Chelsea and drew with Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s recent record in the blue half of town isn’t earth shattering either. Their one goal in three games at Goodison under Klopp came in the 94th minute of the December 2016 derby, and but for that, they’d have drawn their last three visits 0-0.
However, even though the underlying stats favour the home side more than Paddy does, the bet has to be for a Liverpool win.
They are close to securing the title while Everton have very little to play for beyond pride and will be missing Yerry Mina, which won’t help their hopes of keeping the Reds at bay.
There has been a lot of talk about the lack of home victories in Germany since the Bundesliga restarted, but it’s a bit misleading. Many of the away wins occurred in games where the away team was the favourite anyway.
Even so, there has been a definite shift in goal scoring. Home sides have scored around half a goal less per game since the season resumed, and have been keeping fewer clean sheets too.
This is a traditionally low scoring fixture, and with the behind closed games in Germany seeing fewer goals than normal, don’t tune in expecting a goal fest here.
Prior to their disastrous showing at Watford in their previous away game, Liverpool had only conceded one goal in their last six matches on the road in the Premier League. And even with their 3-0 collapse at Vicarage Road, the champions elect have conceded just two goals in the first halves of away matches this season. They’ve proved very hard to break down.
But, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was in fine form at Goodison Park prior to the lockdown.
He scored in four of Everton’s last five home games, netting the opener twice and the last goal on two occasions too.
Calvert-Lewin is also the Toffees’ top scorer against the big six clubs this season and has form for winding up Liverpool too, after winning a penalty in a 1-1 draw at Anfield in 2017.
Sadio Mane is the only Liverpool player to score at Goodison in Klopp’s time at the club and he also scored the Reds last away goal anywhere, albeit that was over four months ago now. Mane was among the scorers the last time these sides met too.
It’s Roberto Firmino who is the value bet among the star front three though, as only three players have scored more away goals in the Premier League this season. He’s never previously scored against Everton, but all Liverpool strikers do eventually and this could be his time.
Oh, and for even better value, keep an eye on Virgil van Dijk. Only two teams have scored more set piece goals than the Reds this season, and only one has conceded more than the Blues.
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