Fierce, raucous and formidable: and that’s just the 40,000 or so fans who will pack into Goodison Park on Monday night to see the ‘rather disliked’ neighbours Everton and Liverpool do battle in the 2016/17 campaign’s first Merseyside derby.
The first fixture of its kind took place in 1894, so there’s plenty of history attached to it, and realistically football doesn’t get much more blood-an-thunder than this. Jurgen Klopp and Ronald Koeman will be desperate to secure the three points and the bragging rights for their respective supporters.
Aside from the local glory, victory would mean plenty to both in terms of their Premier League aspirations, with Liverpool still only six points behind Chelsea at the summit. Everton, up to eighth after their midweek win over Arsenal, will be hoping to be back inside the top six heading into 2017.
So will the Reds continue their fine start to the campaign, or can the Blues claim only their second victory over Liverpool in the past decade here?
Everton vs Liverpool: Outright Winner
Wow, where to start here. This match would have been much easier to analyse had Everton not beaten Arsenal on Tuesday. Prior to that they had been poor, losing four of their previous six outings, and conceding goals a bit too liberally. The Toffees were going soft after a fine start to the campaign.
But a return to form, of sorts, in midweek has rather muddied the waters. They rode their luck at times against the Gunners admittedly, but when the final whistle blew not many in attendance could query their 2-1 victory. That gives them a much-needed injection of confidence ahead of a Mersey derby that they have generally struggled in of late.
As for Liverpool, the good times continue under Jurgen Klopp. Barring that bizarre 3-4 defeat to Bournemouth, where they could theoretically have won by four or five goals, the Reds have only tasted defeat once this term.
So, an evenly-matched battle can be expected on Monday, but we have to be honest and acknowledge that Liverpool, simply, are the better side of the two.
They will miss Joel Matip if he is ruled out injured, and Klopp has potentially gone from the chip pan to the gas pipe by replacing Lorus Karius with Simon Mignolet in goal. We anticipate that the Toffees will find the net here.
As such, the Liverpool Win & Both Teams to Score market, at 5/2 with bet365, looks excellent value.
Everton v Liverpool: Other Bets
Goals never seem to be far away in Everton and Liverpool matches, and the Merseyside derby is a fixture that tends to come up trumps on that front too. Six of the last ten have witnessed three goals or more, while this term, collectively, these two sides have kept clean sheets in 7/32 and found the net in 26/32.
What other wager than Over 2.5 Goals can we have? At 4/5 with Betfair, there is plenty of legs in backing a goalfest at Goodison Park.
All of the above lends its hand to an intriguing situation in the Correct Score bracket. We believe that a) the Reds will triumph, b) Everton will score and c) naturally, there will be three or more goals. So, backing Liverpool to win 2-1 (8/1 with BetVictor) and 3-1 (14/1 with William Hill) is smart betting.
Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score (5/2 with bet365)
Over 2.5 Goals (4/5 with Betfair)