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Prediction: Liverpool vs Everton

4th May 2013

With just five points separating the two sides in the standings, this could prove to be one of the most exciting Merseyside derbies of late. Liverpool are hoping to help Jamie Carragher win his final derby before he retires from football, whereas Everton could even revive their Champions League bid by winning at Anfield.

This Liverpool side is still a work in progress, but having recovered from the slow start to the season, the Reds have been showing a lot of promise. January additions Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge have been a real breath of fresh air and they more than compensated for some poor dealings in the summer transfer window. With Steven Gerrard raising his game and even Jordan Henderson starting to prove the doubters wrong, Liverpool seem to have a good base for the upcoming season, but it is absolutely imperative that they get their summer signings right. Much will depend on the status of Luis Suarez, who is doing his best to upstage his amazing displays with numerous incidents, but the 6-0 triumph at St James Park did prove the Reds can do just fine without him. Riding on the wave of such an impressive victory, Liverpool might just be able to edge this derby game, especially with their opponents largely struggling up front at the moment. Jamie Carragher will relish taking part in his final Merseyside derby, but Luis Suarez is suspended and Fabio Borini will have to settle for a place on the bench.

Everton may be effectively out of the race for the final Champions League berth, but the fact they can finish above their arch rivals in successive seasons for the first time after 50 years should give the players an extra incentive to do well at Anfield. The Toffees look to be on course to a top 6 finish as they are five points clear of Liverpool at the moment, but with the team playing Chelsea away on the final day of the season, a defeat in this match would probably deny them the opportunity to end the long wait. After showing a lot of promise in derby games against Arsenal and Tottenham, the Toffees seem to have suffered a small dip in form, as the goals have just stopped coming. Everton managed just one goal in last three matches, with Steven Pienaar scoring in 1-0 victory over Fulham, but the poor form of Nikica Jelavic is definitely a cause for concern. The Croatian striker has netted just twice since the turn of the year and everything suggests Victor Anichebe will once again be preferred up front. Captain Phil Neville misses out through injury, but Darron Gibson could return.

Conclusion

Merseyside derbies are always tight affairs, but Liverpool do appear to be in better form of the two and the fact they have won three of last four derby games should keep them in good stead. Everton have shown more than their rivals this season, but the Toffees tend to underperform when facing their local rivals.

Verdict: Home win Liverpool (1)

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Paddy Power

Sat 4 May, 2013
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