The Big Match Tactical View: Liverpool v Everton
Everton haven't beaten Liverpool in the last 21 Merseyside derbies - can they record a victory at Anfield? Michael Cox and Alan Thompson preview Sunday's action...
"Joe Gomez has sometimes been guilty of positional mistakes this season, but he boasts the recovery speed to catch up with Richarlison."
Liverpool v Everton
Sunday 16:15, Sky Sports Main Event
Match Odds: Liverpool [1.4], Everton [9.0]
Tactical decision for Klopp
Liverpool suffered a significant setback in midweek, a 2-1 away loss to PSG which puts their Champions League progress in doubt. They'll be looking to bounce back with a win over neighbours Everton here.
For all the doubts about Liverpool's recent form, they remain two points behind Manchester City and are unbeaten all season in the league. The derby is traditionally a tough game, but Liverpool have encountered few problems against Everton over recent years at Anfield, and Jurgen Klopp's side will take the game to the Toffees in the opening stages.
Liverpool's precise formation remains to be seen. In Paris, Klopp went with a 4-3-3 system reminiscent of last season's approach, but in the Premier League it's been 4-2-3-1, with Mohamed Salah moving upfront, Roberto Firmino dropping deep and Xherdan Shaqiri on the right, although those three can alternate positions fluidly. Sadio Mane on the left is the one constant.
It's more likely to be the 4-2-3-1 here, which means plenty of work for the two midfielders just behind. Jordan Henderson is suspended, so it's two from Naby Keita, Fabinho, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum, with the latter two probably favoured for this derby.
Defensively, Trent Alexander-Arnold will return at right-back, which should see Joe Gomez pushing inside and Dejan Lovren dropping out.
Everton likely to be unchanged
Everton manager Marco Silva has few selection issues. Defensively, Yerry Mina and Michael Keane is now the first-choice partnership in the centre, with Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne pushing forward out wide. Those two have played particularly attack-minded roles this season but will have to play more cautiously this weekend, for fear of leaving Salah and Mane with space to sprint into.
Andre Gomes and Idrissa Gueye is a combination that provides defensive discipline and ball-winning ability. Further forward, Bernard and Theo Walcott have both provided counter-attacking speed this season, while Gylfi Sigurdsson is in good goalscoring form, and is particularly dangerous in terms of meeting cut-backs from wide positions played towards the edge of the box. Adeola Lookman is challenging for a place instead of Walcott, but is more likely to be used from the bench.
Pace upfront for both sides
Richarlison is now established as Everton's first-choice centre-forward, and against Liverpool's aggressive defensive line he'll make runs in behind. Gomez has sometimes been guilty of positional mistakes this season, but he boasts the recovery speed to catch up with Richarlison.
I fancy a Liverpool victory here. Their home record at Anfield is sensational - they've kept a clean sheet in 10 of their last 11 home matches, are unbeaten in their last 27 home matches and haven't lost in 21 games to Everton in 21 meetings. This is, in recent history, a very one-sided derby.
I think Liverpool will get joy down the flanks. Silva tends to order his side to play positively, even away from home against strong opposition, and I worry about the positioning of the full-backs. Salah, in particular, will be a serious threat in behind Digne, and I'll back him to open the scoring at [4.0].
The Betfair Trader's View - Alan Thompson
It should be a great atmosphere at Anfield on Sunday and wouldn’t the Everton fans just love to end Liverpool’s Premier League unbeaten run this season, the Reds have now won 10 and drawn three so far but I can’t see Everton putting a stop to that in this Merseyside derby.
Liverpool are trading at around [1.43] and that looks a bit short against a side who are sixth in the table and recently got out of Stamford Bridge with a respectable 0-0. It’s hard to lay the odds however, knowing that the home side have only conceded five goals this campaign (same as Manchester City) and have kept a clean sheet in 10 of their last 11 Premier League home games. Add to that the Toffees haven’t beaten their local rivals in their last 17 attempts in all competitions and they are winless in their last 18 Premier League trips to Anfield. I think the Red dominance of Merseyside continues in this fixture.
Once I convinced myself of the home win, finding the right bet was the issue. I got it down to a coin toss between taking Liverpool on the Asian Handicap (-1.0 & 1.5) at around evens or backing them to Win to Nil at anything over [2.5].
I wouldn’t put anyone of either of those bets but as Everton have only scored three times on their last seven visits, I will go with the Win to Nil option, assuming that Everton will be looking for a similar result to the one they achieved at the Bridge, where they managed just the one shot on target.