Everton can be forgiven for thinking the time has come for Goodison Park to finally rejoice in a win over the bitter rivals, having failed to win any of last ten matches against Liverpool. Meanwhile, the Reds desperately need a pick-me-up after yet another disappointing performance at Anfield.
While the home draw against Watford was hardly a perfect way to start a new season, Everton have shown a great deal of improvement since and they look they have already forgotten all about the disappointing 2014/2015 campaign. The Toffees had a pretty difficult fixture list to begin with, facing the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Spurs and Swansea in the opening exchanges, but they, nonetheless, managed to climb to fifth in the Premier League standings, taking 12 points from 7 games. Everton are unbeaten in last six games and can draw confidence not only from the 3-1 victory over holders Chelsea, but also Monday’s impressive victory over West Brom, where they were two goals down at the start of the second period, before Romelu Lukaku (2) and Aroune Kone scored to make it 3-2. Not even the relatively small squad and injuries to several important players were enough to stop the Toffees in their tracks and they have every right to feel optimistic ahead of the Merseyside derby. There have been more good news for Roberto Martinez since the latest reports suggest that Seamus Coleman and John Stones could both return, but Muhamed Besic and Kevin Mirallas continue to miss out.
The time when Liverpool fought Chelsea and Manchester City for the Premier League title seems like a distant past now that the Reds are struggling to string a few good results together. Following the heavy summer recruitment, on paper Brendan Rodgers appears to have just as good a squad as the other top 4 rivals, but the problem is that his side cannot seem to hit the ground running. Back to back defeats to Manchester United and West Ham certainly acted as major blows to the players’ confidence and while the Reds did not lose any of their next five fixtures, they could only beat minnows Carlisle on penalties and record a narrow win over Aston Villa. The only positive in the past few weeks has been the return of Daniel Sturridge from injury and the England star did well to score a brace on his second appearance this season. But, the fact that Liverpool have no choice but to rely on the player who has just returned from a five-month spell on the sidelines speaks volumes about the problems they are in at the moment. Brendan Rodgers is sweating over the fitness of Christian Benteke, whereas Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino are definitely out.
Current form rarely plays a role in these kinds of games, but we are, nonetheless, backing the in-form Everton to end the barren run in Merseyside derbies. The Reds are missing some very important players and are seriously low on confidence, so another disappointing result appears on the cards.
Verdict: Everton Draw no bet
Bookmaker: William Hill