Monday, May 27, 2024

Prediction: Everton vs Liverpool

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 17/25

Bookmaker: ZetBet

A high-stakes Merseyside derby awaits at Goodison Park this Wednesday, as Everton and Liverpool collide once more.

Liverpool secured a comfortable 3-1 victory over Fulham on Sunday, while Everton triumphed 2-0 against relegation rivals Nottingham Forest in a match overshadowed by controversy during the contest and dramatic events which followed.

Everton

Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil delivered remarkably similar strikes, both hitting the inside of the post on their way to securing Everton a crucial victory over Nottingham Forest in the ‘points deduction derby’. However, it was the astonishing post-match statement from Forest that grabbed the headlines.

In a matter of minutes after the game’s conclusion, Nottingham Forest accused VAR official Stuart Attwell of dishonesty, citing his alleged connections to Luton Town. They claimed to have warned the PGMOL about this before feeling aggrieved by the denial of three strong penalty appeals at Goodison Park.


Amidst Forest’s unprecedented outburst, Everton quietly celebrated their second win in three Premier League outings, lifting them five points clear of the relegation zone into 16th place.

While Everton’s Premier League status remains uncertain, they hold a game in hand over Forest, Luton, and Burnley. Their recent form at Goodison Park, losing just one of their last six matches, offers optimism going into the final five games of the season. The Toffees’ home victories have often been accompanied by clean sheets, with their last 11 Premier League wins at home coming with shutouts. However, they’ve struggled when conceding at home, failing to win any of their last 22 top-flight matches at Goodison Park in such instances, losing 17 of them.

Team News

Everton’s victory over Forest was also made less notable than it should be by a concerning head injury to Beto, who received oxygen as he was stretchered off the field during added time. However, amidst the distress, Beto managed to give a thumbs-up to the applauding crowd, offering some reassurance.

Manager Dyche has provided positive initial updates on Beto’s condition. However, he will be unavailable for the upcoming derby, along with Lewis Dobbin (ankle), Dele Alli (groin), and Nathan Patterson, whose thigh injury is expected to rule him out of Scotland’s Euro 2024 campaign.

Seamus Coleman’s availability remains uncertain due to a groin issue, while Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were both fit to start against Forest after overcoming their own concerns.

Liverpool

Everton’s statistics indicate that Liverpool only need to score once to humble their bitter rivals, as demonstrated in their Europa League second-leg quarterfinal clash against Atalanta BC. But despite securing a narrow victory in Bergamo, Everton’s hopes were dashed by a dismal 3-0 defeat at Anfield, sealing their exit from continental competition. Further more, Liverpool failed to keep a clean sheet in nine consecutive games preceding the Bergamo trip, and they failed again on that front at Craven Cottage on Sunday. Still, it should also be said that Everton failed to score in the last four Merseyside Derbies.

Following their European disappointment, facing a Fulham side with a fine home record in the division posed a daunting challenge just three days later. Although Timothy Castagne initially leveled the score after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s wonderful free-kick, second-half goals from Ryan Gravenberch and Diogo Jota secured victory for Jurgen Klopp’s team.

Liverpool’s first Premier League away win since March 2nd elevated them to second place in the standings, trailing Arsenal only on goal difference. However, Manchester City’s game in hand means the title race remains in the hands of the defending champions.

Nevertheless, Sunday’s clinical performance was a welcome sight for Liverpool fans after previous wasteful displays. Their admirable scoring streak on the road in the league now spans 20 matches since they were last shut out by Chelsea last April.

Team News

Liverpool continues to be without Joel Matip (knee), Ben Doak (knee), Thiago Alcantara (muscle), and Conor Bradley (ankle), although Bradley is expected to return in a couple of weeks barring any setbacks.

Stefan Bajcetic was not included in the matchday squad on Sunday as he works on regaining match fitness following a calf concern. However, Klopp may have opted for his absence tactically, as he had the luxury of selecting a completely new midfield for the win over Fulham. Bajcetic has since featured for the club’s Under-21 side.

In addition to rotating his midfield, Klopp also opted to start Mohamed Salah on the bench in West London. However, the 31-year-old is expected to return to the starting lineup for the derby, with Jota sidelined for another two weeks after recently returning from injury. Darwin Nunez could also start ahead of Cody Gakpo.

Conclusion

Everton’s goal drought against Liverpool might end against a Reds defence that has shown vulnerabilities in 2024. However, if Liverpool can maintain their record of scoring in every Premier League away game this season, it could spell trouble for Dyche’s team.

Despite some key players only making second-half appearances, Klopp’s side cruised past Fulham. A return to a full-strength lineup at Goodison Park should see the title-contending Reds keep hold of the bragging rights in the city.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best odds: 17/25

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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