Everton home resilience to dent Liverpool top-four challenge
Liverpool could return to the top of the Premier League for at least a few hours with a win at Everton, which is the early game on TV in this round of top-flight fixtures.
Brendan Rodgers has clearly instilled great belief within the Anfield club over the summer, but they face a Toffees outfit that has shown great resolve under new messiah Roberto Martinez.
Everton v Liverpool – Draw @ 11/5
No team in the Premier League has shared the spoils more times so far this term than Everton, who drew their first three matches of the campaign and took two points from scoreless draws in their last two games against Crystal Palace and Spurs.
The Toffees are unbeaten at home since Martinez took over from David Moyes, who won his last five games in charge at Goodison Park.
In fact, Everton have only lost once at home in 2013 and that was in the FA Cup against Martinez and his old club Wigan.
They face a Liverpool side that’s won five out of six at Anfield in the Premier League, but look far less assured on the road, where they have triumphed in less than half their games.
Both top-flight ties between these teams finished honours even in 2012/13 and considering the Reds and the Blues are separated in the Premier League table by just three points, the draw looks good value again here.
Ross Barkley to score at any time @ 11/2
After a cracking start to the season by the 19-year-old generated much excitement amongst Everton and England fans, Barkley has disappointed of late and started on the bench in the Toffees’ last two matches.
With that in mind, check the teamsheet before lumping on the Liverpudlian in this match, but if he starts Barkley is a great price at 11/2 to score in the Merseyside derby.
The midfielder is clearly in Roy Hodgson’s thoughts for England’s 2014 World Cup squad and can be backed at 7/4 to make it on the plane to Brazil.
Barkley will be buoyed by his 20-minute cameo in the Three Lions’ 1-0 loss against Germany and can add to the two goals he’s already notched this season by firing home against Rodgers’ men.
Under 2.5 goals @ 10/11
In recent seasons, Merseyside derbies have been relatively low-scoring affairs, with 11 of the last 16 clashes between Everton and Liverpool producing two goals or less.
Martinez’s men have drawn blanks in their last two Premier League games and four of their five top-flight stalemates have finished 0-0.
Liverpool have been much more prolific and strikers Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez lead the Premier League scoring charts, alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
However, 10 of Liverpool’s last 16 strikes have come against either Fulham, Crystal Palace and Sunderland, all of whom are either stuck in the relegation zone or hovering ominously above the bottom three.
Against local rivals pushing for a European place this term, they are taken to find the going much tougher.