It’s a big week for Everton fans with this derby adopting a rare undercard status with a Wembley trip just days away. However, with the pressure mounting on Roberto Martinez after a very disappointing league campaign there will surely be no slacking off here as the last thing they’ll want before their biggest game of the season is a defeat at their hands of their biggest rivals.
It’s just as important for the Reds of course, as they still have a chance of catching Man Utd in fifth and will want to keep their run of three consecutive wins going into next week’s Europa League semi-final. They might be winning but clean sheets have been thin on the ground for Liverpool as both teams have scored in their last seven games in all competitions. Going forwards, though, they are looking formidable and have scored 27 times in their last 10 matches as only the top two have stopped them scoring at least twice. Half of those last 10 have had at least four goals while eight have had three or more and we could certainly see more goals here with Romelu Lukaku scoring five times in his last eight appearances against the Reds.
Everton’s recent problems have basically been the opposite to Liverpool’s though, as while their defence has tightened up their attack has stopped being as effective and they’ve failed to win since beating Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-final five and a half weeks ago.
They’ve scored just twice in five games since then but while they fielded a much changed side at the weekend against Southampton they should be back to full strength here. At their best they are a match for any team in the league, as they’ve shown with just two (narrow) defeats in their last 17 away games. Moreover, six of the last seven Merseyside derbies have finished all-square as there’s been little to separate these teams in recent years.
Nine of Liverpool’s last 11 home games, and seven of Everton’s last 11 away matches, have been level at half-time and given the nature of this fixture that looks a good bet at 2.4. However, Liverpool look too short in the match outcome at odds-on and with McCarthy, Barkley and Lukaku all set to return after missing the weekend the Toffees should be back to full strength. That should make for a very even match and 4.0 is a great price on honours being shared in this game once again while we’re also happy to take a bit of the 6.5 on a Draw/Draw Half-Time/Full-Time double.
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