Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton lock horns at Anfield on Saturday evening. Mark O'Haire has scoured the Betfair odds for the best bets...
"Liverpool’s dominance in this fixture is no secret and the Reds arrive at Anfield unbeaten in their last 23 meetings against Everton across all competitions (W11-D12-L0)"
Liverpool v Everton
Saturday February 20, 17:30
Liverpool impress in Budapest
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said his side defied many people's expectations with their first-leg victory over RB Leipzig in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday night. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane struck in the space of five minutes near the start of the second half in Budapest as the Reds' provided a reminder of their top-level ability.
The continental triumph came after the Merseysiders had fallen to three straight defeats in the Premier League - results that have led Klopp to concede defeat in their defence of the English top-flight title. But the midweek display was far more like the dominant side of old, with their greater experience and quality ultimately telling against error-prone opposition.
Captain Jordan Henderson was again asked to fill in at centre-half alongside January signing Ozan Kabak, with youngster Curtis Jones joining Gini Wijnaldum and Thiago Alcantara in midfield. Klopp is expected to field a similar XI for Saturday's derby date at Anfield, although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri will be hoping to be involved from the off.
Everton unable to match Man City
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti said it was "almost impossible" to compete against table-toppers Manchester City on Wednesday night as the Citizens extended their advantage at the top of the Premier League to 10 points with a 3-1 victory at Goodison Park.
The Toffees produced a battling performance and, at one stage, threatened to become the first team since West Brom on 15 December to stop Pep Guardiola's side from winning. Lucas Digne's powerful attempt coming back off the post and hitting Richarlison before flying over the line to level proceedings after the Blues had fallen behind minutes earlier.
However, a wonderful curling finish from Riyad Mahrez restored City's lead before Bernardo Silva beat Jordan Pickford from a similar distance in the closing stages as Ancelotti's outfit fell to back-to-back league losses. The good news for Everton is the possible return to the fold for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Allan ahead of Saturday, although Yerry Mina is a doubt.
Liverpool's dominance in this fixture is no secret and the Reds arrive at Anfield unbeaten in their last 23 meetings against Everton across all competitions (W11-D12-L0).
Taking purely Premier League games into account. the hosts are unbeaten in 20 meetings with the Toffees (W18-D12-L0), as well as their last 20 home league ties with the Blues (W11-D0-L0).
Liverpool 1.511/2 enjoyed a timely triumph on Tuesday but it's not been plain sailing in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp's charges are looking to avoid four consecutive league losses for the first time since 2002 and have been turned over in five of their eight encounters in 2021 (W2-D1-L5) - the Reds lost five times in total over the previous two calendar years.
Everton 7.4013/2 have struggled for consistency since their superb start to the season, posting W7-D4-L8 in 19 league fixtures following October's international break. The Toffees have been particularly erratic at their traditional fortress Goodison Park, yet returned an unbeaten seven-game streak on their travels (W5-D2-L0), their best away run since 2016.
Four of Liverpool's most recent five Premier League outings featured Over 2.5 Goals 1.674/6 with all four producing a minimum of four goals in total, while the Reds' well-documented defensive woes have made goal-heavy games involving Jurgen Klopp's team more appealing for punters. However, I'm not totally convinced we'll be served up a derby thriller.
Everton are expected to set-up in a contain and counter system, as they did midweek, but with only four clean sheets to the Toffees' name this term, it's difficult to see Carlo Ancelotti's team being capable of producing the resolute performance required to keep Liverpool in-check on Saturday.
Nevertheless, the hosts have regularly kept the overall goals tally relatively low since moving towards a pragmatic approach in late Autumn. Just five of Everton's past 14 league fixtures have featured Over 2.5 and so it may pay to support a Liverpool win alongside Under 4.5 Goals for an appealing 1.804/5 shot via the Same Game Multi.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 103.00 pts
Returned: 109.10 pts