Everton V Liverpool: Match Preview, Odds & Betting. Mon 19th Dec


by Adrian Clarke

Describing his Everton players as physically and mentally weak was a psychological throw of the dice, but it provoked just the type of reaction Ronald Koeman was looking for against Arsenal

Can his rejuvenated Toffees start as powerfully as they finished on Tuesday night?

If they don’t, I fear this latest installment of the Merseyside derby could be over as a contest by half time.

Liverpool’s record in the opening 30 minutes of Premier League matches this season has been frighteningly good.

Revved up by Jurgen Klopp, their goal difference stands at a mightily impressive 13-4 during that early passage in games. They love to start on the front foot, and blow the other team away.

Everton are the polar opposite. Sleep walking their way through the same 30-minute periods, the slow starting Blues have a far less flattering 3-7 goals tally in the opening half hour.

You can get 7/6 with Grosvenor Sport for Liverpool to score first and win the match.

England boss Gareth Southgate will no doubt pay close attention to the engine room battle between Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana, providing they both start.

In the past it was 23-year-old Barkley that garnered far more praise and attention, but Lallana, five years his senior, has outshone the Scouser in 2016-17.

Considered by many to be the Premier League’s most improved player (and I am among them) the Liverpool star is developing into a high-class box-to-box midfielder that offers a little bit of everything, not least remarkable energy.

Registering six goals and six assists from 12 starts, the Toffees will certainly be more concerned by him than Klopp will be by the presence of Barkley (two goals, two assists).

If you fancy either of them to score, Lallana is available at 14/5. Barkley is priced up at 23/5.

Former Everton gaffer Roberto Martinez, now in charge of Belgium, will surely be in attendance at his old stomping ground, for two of the national team’s best young strikers will be leading the line.

Divock Origi is on a hot streak

Netting five goals in his last five appearances, the 21-year-old couldn’t be coming into the derby feeling any happier.

With Phil Jagielka suspended, I expect him to target the erratic Ramiro Funes Mori, who is prone to diving in a little tempestuously. I fancy the athletic youngster to boss that duel and make it six in six.

The Reds youngster is 21/4 to bag the opener.

Although he was quiet in midweek, Everton’s hopes rest largely on the broad shoulders of Romelu Lukaku, who won’t want to be overshadowed by his compatriot.

Keep your eye on his surges down the right hand channel in particular. It’s an area he loves to bulldoze his way into, and with the consistent but relatively diminutive James Milner occupying Liverpool’s left back slot, it could be a source of joy.

For the record, Romelu Lukaku is 5/3 to notch any time during the 90 minutes. From Everton’s perspective it’s been far too long since they earned the city’s bragging rights.

There have been four successive draws in derby games at Goodison, and it’s now over six years since the Blues claimed a win at Liverpool’s expense.

Liverpool owe their fans a victory

Providing they start with an aggressive mindset, don’t rule it out.

With intense pressure on recalled Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet not to fluff his lines, it would be criminal not to test him with a flurry of crosses and shots, especially early on.

Klopp’s rearguard isn’t the most secure – we saw that in the 4-3 loss to Bournemouth – so it makes sense to fight fire with fire and go for it.

If the hosts sit back and let Liverpool play they could get walloped, and the 14/1 on a resounding 3-0 success is tempting.

But a fired up Everton will pose danger, and the 100/30 on offer for a long awaited home win in this fixture is a decent price.

Koeman will be on his players’ backs demanding another big performance. With the wind in their sails, don’t be surprised if he gets it.





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