Everton v Liverpool: Stalemate the selection in meeting of Merseyside's finest

Daniel Agger's return makes the Reds far stronger at the back

These are heady times on Merseyside with both Liverpool and Everton riding high in the Premier League after the first 11 games of the season - but they may check each other's progress in the early Saturday kick-off, says Joe Dyer

"Everton have beaten Chelsea and drawn with Spurs at Goodison and will be very tough opposition for their city rivals on Saturday."

Back the draw @ 3.412/5 

Everton v Liverpool 
Saturday November 23, KO 12:45
Live on BT Sport 1 


Everton 
Roberto Martinez is underlining his managerial class following his summer move to Everton, the club sitting in sixth place just five points off leaders Arsenal. The Toffees have lost just once in the Premier League this season - away to Manchester City - and have responded to that defeat by embarking on a four match unbeaten run, keeping clean sheets in their last three. The only blemish on their recent record being their failure to score in the last two matches (at home to Tottenham and at Crystal Palace). 

Everton have beaten Chelsea and drawn with Spurs at Goodison and will be very tough opposition for their city rivals on Saturday.  


Liverpool 
A fine start to Brendan Rodgers' second season at Anfield has Liverpool heading up the chasing pack behind leaders Arsenal. Powered by the phenomenal strikeforce of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and the midfield promptings of Steven Gerrard, the Reds have brushed aside most of the opposition. 

Daniel Agger came back to first team action against Fulham last time out, and Rodgers appears to have all his key men fit for this fixture. The Dutch defender's return looks significant - the Reds have kept clean sheets in all four games in which he has played the full 90 minutes. 


Match Odds
Betfair customers make Liverpool 2.588/5 favourites for the win, with Everton a shade longer (3.185/40) and the draw 3.45. Of the three options it is the stalemate that makes the most appeal. 
 
With two wins, two draws and one defeat, the favourites' away form is good but not great. Newcastle and Swansea both took a point off Liverpool with the Geordies managing to take a lead at St James' Park despite having Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa sent off. 

Everton have developed a draw habit in recent weeks too, coming into the game off the back of successive stalemates. The two teams could not be separated last year either with the fixture at Goodison ending 2-2 and the return at Anfield finishing goalless. 

In a game which looks evenly matched I'd rather be on the draw with a view to trading should the two be sharing the spoils late on. Indeed, if things go our way it represents a very decent Cash Out opportunity


Over/Under 2.5 Goals 
The market is locked on even money for both overs and unders and it's hard to make a case for either option. Last year's results show that the game can go either way - one finishing goalless and the other featuring four goals. 

Agger's return looks like shoring up the Liverpool defence while Opta tell us that it's been five-and-a-half hours since the Toffees conceded. Liverpool are the division's third highest scorers and I'd rather not be low on goals in a match where Suarez and Sturridge feature. Punters predicting more goals for the Uruguayan genius (he has been backed as low as 2.01/1 to score) should note that he played the full 90 minutes of his country's World Cup qualification second leg against Jordan on Wednesday night (without scoring). 


Sending Off/Booking Odds/Over Under 4.5 Cards
History tells us this is an extremely spicy fixture with 20 red cards in the 42 Premier League games between the two. But history may not repeat itself. Neither side has been particularly dirty this season - Liverpool have 16 yellows, Everton 19 and there's not a red card from either team from the opening 11 matches - and this may play out like the last match between the two when just Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe went in the ref's book. Early fixtures can be soporific affairs and, while that's unlikely in a derby match, it might take a while to catch alight. Try to get matched at around 2.26/5 in the over/under 4.5 cards market. 

There'll be no shortage of passion in the stands but both sets of fans may have to settle for a point apiece when it's over. Liverpool may just have the edge in class but home advantage and the Martinez factor should enable Everton to avoid a first league defeat of the season at Goodison. 


Recommended Bet 
Back the draw @ 3.412/5 
Back under 4.5 cards @ 2.26/5 or above

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