Liverpool v Everton Preview: Can the Reds see off the Toffees to keep City in reach?

The stats, tactics and key players that matter as Liverpool prepare to host Everton

Callum Rice-Coates

Liverpool will be favourites when they host rivals Everton at Anfield on Sunday, but it will not be easy.

This is a very different Everton side, one capable of challenging the top teams without the need to surrender possession and defend on the edge of their own box for 90 minutes. Marco Silva has changed things, and the Toffees are beginning to reap the rewards.

Sunday’s Merseyside Derby will, no doubt, be typically hard-fought and intense. The atmosphere in the stands will be just as raucous as ever. But it will also be an intriguing contest between two strong sides, which has not always been the case.

Our friends at Football Whispers preview the clash of rivals here.

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Form, recent meetings, head-to-head record

Everton make the short trip to Anfield in impressive form. After an inconsistent start to the season, they have won five of their last seven Premier League games, only dropping points in away games at Manchester United and Chelsea. Silva has truly begun to make his mark at Goodison.

Liverpool, meanwhile, come into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. But they remain relentless in the Premier League. They are still yet to lose a game and beat Watford 3-0 in their last outing.

Liverpool v Everton Preview, Betting Tips And Enhanced Odds

The derby, then, is set up nicely. It should certainly be a better contest than last season’s meeting at Anfield. Sam Allardyce insisted that he had no option but to “frustrate the opposition”, and that his what his side did. Liverpool had 79 per cent of the ball – an Opta record – and 23 shots on goal. But it finished 1-1.

Silva is unlikely to take the same approach. Everton’s average possession per game is up from 45.48 per cent per game last season to 51.63 this. And they are a more accomplished attacking unit in almost every way.

Despite Everton’s promising form, recent history gives Liverpool the edge. They have not been beaten by their rivals since 2010.

FansBet ambassador Paul Robinson previews the Merseyside Derby


Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has had some joy with a 4-2-3-1 system in recent weeks. It allows him to field an attacking quarter of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Xherdan Shaqiri, a formidable prospect for any opposition defence.

Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum will likely start in midfield and will anchor in front of an impressively sturdy defence: Liverpool have conceded just five goals in 13 league games, helped by the excellent performances of Virgil van Dijk.

Everton are 5.00 with FansBet for a top-six Premier League finish this season*

Everton, too, will line up in a 4-2-3-1. The introduction of Andre Gomes in midfield alongside Idrissa Gueye has been significant. The Portugal international, on loan from Barcelona, has impressed in midfield and there is talk of making the move permanent.

The main change for Everton under Silva is they are no longer a reactive team. They aim to play on the front foot, pressing higher and maintaining some control of the ball. The result is that they are far more productive offensively.

Key stats

In many areas, Everton are not too far away from Liverpool. They have created, on average, 1.76 big chances per game, compared with the Reds’ 1.84. And they have hit the target with 4.76 shots per 90 minutes, compared with Liverpool’s 5.76.

Both sides, then, are capable of scoring goals. And both press high up the pitch off the ball. Everton, perhaps surprisingly, have won possession in the attacking third – 6.61 times per 90 – more than any other side in the division.

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It might appear that Everton are more vulnerable defensively, given they have conceded 10 goals more than Liverpool. But they have tightened up in recent weeks. Only three teams have allowed the opposition fewer total scoring attempts per game (10.15). One of those, of course, is Liverpool, who have conceded 8.07 scoring attempts per 90.

This derby, then, could be decided on fine margins.

Key players

Liverpool – Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool’s transformation into an almost impenetrable defensive unit has been, in large part, due to the arrival of Van Dijk. Prior to his arrival, Klopp’s side had conceded at an average of 1.24 goals per game. This season, in the Premier League, it is down to a remarkable 0.38.

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The Dutchman is an imposing presence at the back. That he performs with such consistency, rarely making a mistake, is reassuring for his team-mates, particularly youngsters Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez. Van Dijk has helped them slot into the defence so seamlessly and has formed a strong partnership with the latter.

Everton – Andre Gomes: Gomes arrived at Goodison Park with an injury and off the back of a disappointing season with Barcelona. He was shown the door at the Nou Camp, sent out on loan and cast aside by a group of fans who had heavily criticised him throughout the campaign.

The Portuguese midfielder’s talent was never in doubt. He is an accomplished passer of the ball and a player with great vision. That is why Barcelona signed him. It did not work out in Catalonia, but Gomes is now showing what he can do at Everton. He has started the last five games and impressed Everton fans, controlling games from midfield. If he can do the same at Anfield, the Toffees will be confident of leaving with a positive result.

*Odds subject to change

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