One of the great events in the English Premier League is the Merseyside Derby. It not only involves two clubs who are located in the same city. They are actually in the same neighborhood. Well, practically. Everton is the host team on Sunday, as it takes on Liverpool. The game time is 2 PM ET. And needless to say, this is the re-opening of the league after the COVID-19 shutdown.
Consequently, the games are being played behind closed doors. And a number of safety protocols have to be met.
Liverpool is way out in front of the field. With 27 wins, one draw and one loss, they have 82 points, which gives them a 22-point lead in the league. So unless there is a monumental collapse, there is no way Manchester City can catch up to them.
Here are the numbers…
In the English Premier League odds that have been posted at BetAnySports, Liverpool is understandably the favorite, even on the “road”:
Everton vs. Liverpool Betting Odds
|Under 3 Goals||-133|
|Over 3 Goals||+118|
Let’s look at the history
The running total is that in 286 meetings, Liverpool has 121 victories, with 82 for Everton. There have been 83 draws. What is most pertinent here, however, is that Everton has gone winless over its last eighteen meetings with Liverpool. Maybe it is instructive to note that there have been seven draws in the last nine Premier League games that have been played at Goodison. But Carlo Ancelotti’s side has been held scoreless in the last three of those home meetings.
There is a rather painful part of this history for Everton. And it is the most recent. On January 5, Liverpool chalked up a 1-0 shutout in FA Cup play. And they did so while using what was, in effect, a “B-team.” They left all the essential guys out of the lineup. So they mostly had people from their reserve team carrying the load. So even though these teams reside in the same league, Everton is hardily in the same league, figuratively speaking.
How good is Liverpool?
Well, there is a chance that they can set the record for most points accumulated in the course of an English Premier League season. The standard of 100 points was established by Manchester City just a couple of seasons ago. And with nine games left to go, Jurgen Klopp’s team has an excellent to make a little history.
Two of the league’s top scorers wear red. Mohammed Salah has 16 goals, while Sadio Mane is right behind him with 14. Either of these players could wind up leading the league in scoring, although they’ll have to turn up the volume.
What Liverpool does better than any other team in the Premier League is defend. In allowing just 21 goals in 29 games, they are far better at it than anyone else. And that is exactly what can be expected from a team that leads the EPL by such a margin.
The catalyst to all this is Alisson Becker, known around the world simply as “Alisson.” He’s a Brazilian who has established a reputation as the world’s best in goal. In fact, he was named goalkeeper on last year’s FIFAPro World XI, which is the equivalent of an “All-Pro” team in the NFL, except that it covers considerably more ground, with the number of teams that operate around the world. And by the way, Alisson is joined by defender Virgil Van Dijk, captain of the Netherlands national team. And incidentally, another member of the World XI.
The injury factor
Liverpool may be missing a couple of players, notably Xherdan Shaqiri (calf injury). But they are still the healthier side here. Everton has some hurts that have been hard to shake. And losing Jean-Philippe Gbamin to an Achilles injury was a tough break indeed.
Yes, there is a class difference here. And the only hope for Everton maybe if Liverpool comes out flat. Indeed, in their last three games, they had trailed at one juncture. But that’s not enough for us to go on. Sure, they may get off to a slow start, but Everton won’t have the fan support and they’re not making Liverpool travel. Class wins, so we’re going with the favorite.
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