- Everton scored in 11 of their 14 Premier League home games this season.
- Liverpool won 12 of their 14 away matches in the league this term.
- Everton haven’t beaten Liverpool since 2010.
- Liverpool failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last six fixtures.
Premier League title in sight for Liverpool
Liverpool can put one hand on their first English league title in 30 years on Sunday when they make the short hop to Goodison Park to take on local rivals Everton in the 236th Merseyside Derby.
While 2nd placed Man City’s 3-0 win over Arsenal on Wednesday denies them the chance to confirm their status as Premier League champions at the home of their neighbours, a victory over the Toffees would hand the relentless Reds half of the six points they need to seal their inevitable title win.
Though Liverpool’s overall consistency this season has been remarkable, Jurgen Klopp’s side were in the midst of a genuine wobble in the lead up to football’s postponement, losing four out of six across three competitions – results that saw them lose their unbeaten Premier League record and led to elimination from both the FA Cup and the Champions League.
Top half target for Everton
Everton restart their 2019/20 campaign in a worryingly low 13th spot, and while securing points to pursue a top half finish remains the primary aim, the Toffees will also be desperate to restore some pride after two mortifying Merseyside defeats earlier this season.
In the reverse Premier League meeting between Everton and Liverpool at Anfield in December, the Blues were dismantled 5-2, though the Reds’ subsequent 1-0 win over their local antagonists in the FA Cup with a severely weakened XI was in some ways a more embarrassing pill to swallow.
Everton’s seven-Premier League match unbeaten run at Goodison Park in the lead up to the enforced hiatus will heighten hopes that they can pull off an unlikely upset on Sunday, though Carlo Ancelotti’s charges will be hard pressed to end their 10-year wait for a derby win against the champions elect.
Everton do however, possess enough of a threat to make an impact on the derby scoresheet this weekend.
Goals at both ends?
The Toffees scored at least once in 11 of their 14 Premier League home assignments this season, and with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison in particular flourishing under Ancelotti’s watch, we think Everton can register against a Liverpool defence that failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last six matches before the break.
Any effort the hosts do manage to notch will likely be a consolation however. Liverpool’s record of 12 wins from 14 away contests this term is exceptional, and though they were soundly beaten 3-0 at Watford in their last outing on the road, the three-month break would have allowed them to recentre and refocus ahead of what should prove a historic couple of weeks.
That reverse at Vicarage Road was the only time Liverpool failed to score in 29 Premier League fixtures this season, and having averaged 2.27 goals per 90 minutes of top-flight action since August, we think Liverpool can maintain their healthy strike rate at Everton’s expense.
With those factors considered, we’re backing Liverpool to complete a hattrick of 2019/20 derby wins on Sunday, though Everton’s aforementioned potency at home makes the away win and both teams to score market excellent value at the prices available, while our correct score prediction settles on a 2-1 Reds victory.
Key Battle – Lucas Digne vs Mohamed Salah
Flying French fullback Lucas Digne has been one of Everton’s most impressive individual performers this season, and the 26-year-old has provided more Premier League assists (five) than any of his teammate this term.
The left-back’s defensive workload will likely be heavy enough to limit his impact in the attacking third of the pitch on Sunday however.
Golden Boot contender Mohamed Salah will line up in direct opposition to Digne, and having scored five goals in six starts directly before the pause button was pressed on the campaign, the Egyptian international will be keen to pick up where he left off.
Salah was an unused substitute when Liverpool battered Everton 5-2 before Christmas, and the prolific 28-year-old will be keen to get in on the act in Sunday’s derby rematch.
Everton vs Liverpool team news
Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes are expected to shake off minor niggles ahead of Sunday’s derby, though fellow midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin will miss out.
Colombian centre-half Yerry Mina’s thigh injury keeps him in the treatment room, where he is joined by Theor Walcott who will also miss Sunday’s restart fixture.
Everton predicted line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne, Delph, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin
Mohamed Salah, Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all expected to recover from minor knocks ahead of Sunday’s game.
Xherdan Shaqiri remains a doubt however, while Nathaniel Clyne, who is set to leave later this month, won’t be involved.
Liverpool predicted line-up: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Mane, Firmino, Salah