22nd November 2013
This will feel as a perfect time for Everton to end a six-match winless run in the Merseyside derby as well as further close the gap behind the top 4 rivals. Meanwhile, Liverpool can climb to the top of the Premier League standings at least for a couple of hours with three points from Goodison Park and that should be enough incentive for the Reds to give their all on Saturday afternoon.
Everton haven’t exactly impressed this season, although the Toffees can be satisfied with the fact they are still very much involved in the top 4 chase in the Premiership. And while the Toffees have been conceding quite a few goals as they were attempting to adapt to a more attacking style of play under Roberto Martinez, they seem to have found the right balance of late, which has resulted in a four-match unbeaten run. Having kept three straight clean sheets, Everton go into the Merseyside derby high on confidence and looking to keep things tight at the back, while obviously hoping to show some improvement up front, given they have failed to register a single goal in the last two league encounters. The attack seem to be less potent with talented Ross Barkley on the bench, and it is highly unlikely the youngster will start such a high profile game where the hosts will need all the help they can get to prevent the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge from scoring. Even though Antolin Alcaraz has resumed full training, he is unlikely to be in contention for the Liverpool derby, with Darron Gibson, Apostolios Velios and Arouna Kone also missing out.
Despite suffering several slip-ups along the way, Liverpool have done really well to remain in the title chase and they still have just leaders Arsenal in front of them in the league standings. And while the defeat at the Emirates was seen as a serious blow to their title ambitions, the Reds quickly closed the gap to just two points as they hammered sorry Fulham at home, with the Gunners losing at Old Trafford. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side face another serious test this weekend as they face local rivals Everton at Goodison Park immediately after the international break. With Luis Suarez likely to return late after the World Cup qualifying play-off and Daniel Sturridge still struggling with a thigh problem and putting in a poor performance for England against Germany, Liverpool cannot really be expected to continue the impressive scoring run, especially having failed to score in the last high-profile match. There are no fresh injury worries for Brendan Rodgers, although Iago Aspas and Sebastian Coates continue to miss out.
Everton have been showing a great deal of improvement at the back of late and having kept three straight clean sheets they go into this game high on confidence. Liverpool, on the other hand, cannot seem to find their form on the road and with neither Suarez nor Sturridge in the best shape, they will struggle to score at Goodison Park.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 10/11
Bookmaker: William Hill