Lukaku the value bet for first scorer when Everton host Liverpool
Despite finishing ahead of their close rivals for the past two seasons, hosts Everton are 2/1 outsiders for their upcoming Premier League clash with Liverpool.
The Stanley Park divide has been bridged by the Reds’ inability to reach the Champions League places for the last four seasons, but their relative renaissance under coach Brendan Rodgers sees them travel to Goodison Park as 13/10 favourites for this fixture.
Rodgers’ men look to be in for a tough 90 minutes as the Toffees have not lost at home since March and have conceded just once in their last four Premier League outings.
Roberto Martinez has watched his side serve up successive top-flight goalless draws in their last two games, but with premium attacking talent set to take the field for this clash we’ve looked at each team’s main contenders for first goalscorer.
Luis Suarez @ 5/1
The Uruguay hotshot has been in sensational form since returning from a ten-game suspension, with eight goals in just six Premier League appearances which includes a hat-trick, a couple of braces and two openers.
Suarez has a decent record when facing Everton, with three strikes in four games against the Toffees since signing for the Reds nearly three years ago and grabbed his side’s second in the 2-2 draw in this fixture last term.
However, the 26-year-old is yet to break the deadlock in any of his clashes with the blue half of Merseyside.
Teammate Daniel Sturridge – who is 6/1 in this market – has struck twice as many openers as Suarez this season, although the England number nine has played almost twice as many Premier League games in 2013/14 and hasn’t scored in his last three games for club and country.
Considering Suarez will be the last player to arrive back in Liverpool after the international break, having put in a shift in Montevideo against Jordan for his country’s 2014 World Cup cause, he is best watched for first goalscorer here.
Romelu Lukaku @ 11/2
Everton’s Chelsea loanee was one of the few Belgian internationals to emerge with credit after a week to forget for the 14/1 fifth-favourites for the 2014 World Cup.
Lukaku laid on a classy assist for club and international teammate Kevin Mirallas – who is 2/1 to score at any time at Goodison – to open the scoring against Japan, but Belgium couldn’t hold on to their advantage and eventually went down 3-2 – their second loss in five days.
The 20-year-old avoided recriminations after the 2-0 defeat by Colombia as Christian Benteke was preferred up front and Lukaku will be raring to go against a side he scored against home and away when on loan at West Brom in 2012/13.
Four of the forward’s seven strikes for club and country this term have broken the deadlock in their respective games and Lukaku’s recent propensity for hitting the mark early makes him the standout candidate to strike first in this fixture.