Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Everton favourites for the Merseyside derby

Who will come out on top between Everton boss Roberto Martinez and Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers?

Who will come out on top between Everton boss Roberto Martinez and Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers this weekend?

This Sunday the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool takes place at Goodison Park.

The home side are the team with the momentum going into the clash, but as the famous old cliché goes form goes out of the window when it comes to derby games.

Expectations

Everton are perceived to have started the campaign in a more positive manner, despite being just a point above their local rivals.

The reason for that positivity is the fact that the Toffees have faced a number of last season’s top seven already this season.

Another reason for the positivity is the fact that Roberto Martinez’s side are looking far more dangerous going forward, than last season when at times their attacking play was far too laboured. Everton are playing more like they did in Martinez’s debut campaign, when the Toffees narrowly missed on Champions League qualification.

There seems to be confidence running through the Everton players veins again. When on form the likes of Ross Barkley, Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu are players who excite the fans. Everton need their top players to be at their best, and if they are then Liverpool could struggle to cope with their attacking threat.

Poor

Everton have a poor record against Liverpool overall. The Toffees have failed to defeat their local rivals in five years and ten meetings. There seems to be an inferiority complex when it comes to facing the Reds, even when in truth the difference in quality between the two teams is not that great.

Everton’s last derby victory came at Goodison back in October 2010. Evertonians will be hoping that the hoodoo is lifted this weekend.

Close

In truth recent Merseyside derbies have been reality close affairs, with five out of the last six derbies finishing in draws. The other game saw a rampant Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez help the Reds to a 4-0 win, as Brendan Rodgers team chased the league title.

Neither side have dominated, but Evertonians will be wary of that relatively long run without a victory over the Reds.

Inconsistent

Liverpool head into Sundays clash in inconsistent form, having won just one of their last eight games in all competitions. Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is as ever under-pressure to deliver success this season, which for most fans would be a top four spot.

That top four spot is more coveted than ever, as the fight for a place in the lucrative Champions League has become more competitive than ever. Liverpool are probably lucky that none of their rivals have really found consistency, so the Reds are still within touching distance of fourth place.

Boost

The return to fitness and action of England striker Daniel Sturridge is a major boost to the Reds. In only his second start back since recovering from injury, the former-Chelsea striker scored twice to help the Reds defeat Aston Villa 3-2 at Anfield last weekend.

The striker has scored three goals in his last four appearances against the Toffees, and Everton fans will be hoping that young centre-back John Stones recovers from injury in time to face his England international colleague.

Direction

It seems until last season Reds boss Brendan Rodgers had a clear direction he wanted his team to go in. However it now seems the Northern Irishman is frantically looking for his A-Z, after his sat-nat went caput.

The team is struggling for an identity, after iconic players and heroes left the club. Rodgers will be hoping that his team get back on course soon.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has always known the direction his team were going in, but last season they were just going too slow, in the Premier League anyway. When the Toffees are successful it is because the team pass the ball quickly. Too often last season that was not the case.

The likes of Deulofeu, Barkley and Lukaku all like to think quickly, as they are instinctive players, who are better with the ball when asked to play the game quickly.

Odds

Everton are the favourites for the win heading into this clash at odds of 17/10, while Liverpool are odds of 9/5 and the draw is odds of 12/5.

The Toffees may be favourites for the win in this game, but they have a habit of letting their neighbours off the hook when they should really be beating them. That is why I would not bet against a draw in this clash.

Who will come out on top in the Merseyside derby?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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