Liverpool vs Everton Prized Picks & Predictions

Lee Phelps

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 8:08 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 24, 2014 8:08 PM GMT

In preparing soccer picks, I like to combine a mixture of tactics ranging from investigating the stats, trends, history, media, and using my gut. Here’s what I have picked for Everton vs. Liverpool.

I’m intrigued as to whether form does go out of the window in big derby matches as the media usually says it does. What I do know is this is one of the most fiercely fought games in the Premier League and has the dubious honour of featuring the most red cards of any head-to-head in the competitions history.

I’m not a huge fan of looking back years at head-to-head stats for results. Teams have different managers, players and so on, but in this match up Liverpool have a remarkable home record that is difficult to ignore. The last time Everton won a league game at Anfield was in 1999.

 

Form Out of the Window?
Let’s look at last season’s games and investigate whether form played any part. In the run up to the first derby in November which finished 3-3 at Goodison Park, Liverpool were on a run of five wins in 10 games (including three losses). Everton had one solitary defeat from the start of the season, at Manchester City, but had been drawing a lot of games. They had taken a point out of five of the 11. It was also evident that when they did draw, by and large it would be a tight, low scoring game. They had three nil nils in that run, but when they won, goals flowed, with a couple of 3-2 score lines.

Fast forward to January and Anfield and Liverpool had hit their straps, with just two defeats in 12 and they were unlucky against Manchester City and Chelsea. They had one draw in that run, which was full of goals. Conversely Roberto Martinez’s men had been in patchier form, unable to string wins together.

It seems to me that form doesn’t ‘go out the window’ and appears to be a pretty solid indicator of a derby result. If we look at Everton’s Premier League form spanning the summer, they only have three wins from the last 10 matches (one this season) and conceded 23 goals in that run. Martinez seems to have hit a wall (no pun intended) with his back line. Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka don’t seem to have the stability they once showed, John Stones is perhaps a tad inexperienced and Antolin Alcaraz is never far from an injury.

 

Leaky Liverpool
While we’re on the subject of suspect defences, Brendan Rodgers has a back line who at times look like they’re playing together for the first time. They are error-strewn and, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, until they sort it out they will continue to miss Suarez’s goals. The difference this season is, the defence has more pressure on it, because teams aren’t being pushed back having to worry about Suarez. They could often be two goals up last season before their opponents realised what had happened.

We’re hearing Daniel Sturridge will return to the Liverpool side this weekend and that is a huge plus. Sturridge and Balotelli as a front two, will keep the Everton centre-backs very busy. The England striker has scored 36 goals in 52 appearances, a strike rate that puts him above all the most prolific Liverpool strikers of the last century including Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres and Suárez.

 

Goals Galore
On the other side of things Romelu Lukaku has four goals against Liverpool already and will be a handful for the shaky home defence. It’s hard to see how there won’t be a load of goals in this match.

The last two Merseyside derbies have produced 10 goals, obviously both attacks and defences are scoring and the first halves have been high scoring too. Both those games last season featured three goals in the opening 45 minutes. That’s my main soccer pick here: over 1.5 first half goals at 13/8.

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