Soccer Picks: Expect Passion on The Field in Everton/Liverpool Fixture This Saturday

Lee Phelps

Saturday, February 7, 2015 6:47 PM GMT

Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 6:47 PM GMT

The Merseyside Derby takes centre stage in the English Premier League on Saturday night, so William Hill's Lee Phelps has been looking at the betting to find the best odds for his free pick.

Saturday sees Steven Gerrard’s final Merseyside derby, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him add to his tally of five goals in the last six Premier League appearances against the Toffees.

Liverpool’s form has been on the up-turn for a few weeks and they go into the fixture with a brilliant record against Everton, having lost only one of their last 16 derbies, winning eight, drawing seven and losing one.

Roberto Martinez’ men have been struggling, but gathered some much needed confidence beating Crystal Palace last week. This is a huge game for the home team, a loss and results going against them and they could be too close for comfort at the bottom of the table again.

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Everton
I was never a huge fan of Roberto Martinez ability to improve his team’s defence at Wigan (it never improved and they were eventually relegated because of it) and I suspect he will struggle to put this Everton back line right once his inherited players have deteriorated.

They are currently 16 points off the top four and as I said, will be glancing worryingly over their shoulder until they can put together a few wins in succession. They have already let in 34 goals, having conceded 39 in the whole campaign last term.

The all-important home form is nowhere near last season’s level. Compare winning 13 of 19 to three of 11 home matches, and they've taken maximum points from one of their last five games on home soil. That win was against QPR, and literally everybody wins their home games against the west Londoners.

You can’t imagine Martinez going into this with much confidence, given his lack of a win against Liverpool and Everton’s solitary win in 16 Premier League derbies.

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Liverpool
The three centre-backs and a settled defence really seems to have made a difference, with  Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel both achieving more consistency and Emre Can is getting rave reviews, even if his lack of pace is waiting to be found out. But let’s remember Jamie Carragher was hardly Usain Bolt. I like Can a lot, for his ability on the ball as he displayed against Bolton in midweek.

The star man in that tricky cup tie was Philippe Coutinho. If he can achieve consistency, Liverpool have a fantastic player, with great passing ability, a superb touch and as he showed that match winning X Factor.

Daniel Sturridge returning is obviously a huge plus and his record against Everton is very impressive too, with five goals in his last six against the Mersey rivals. Raheem Sterling is in form too, with six goals in his last 11 games and suddenly Liverpool have the threat up front to relieve the pressure on the defence.

 

Soccer picks
As for this soccer pick, I expect passion, history, bad tempers and goals! Well, I’m hoping for the last one to be fair, but I’m expecting an open, exciting game.

That is despite Liverpool’s run of three clean sheets in their last three Premier League away games and under 2.5 goals landing in all of them. Add to that Everton’s last three home games featuring three goals and three clean sheets and you probably think I’m mad predicting goals.

I see Martinez using this game as a catalyst for their season and attacking Liverpool early and fast. The teams’ scorers have good records against each other with Daniel Sturridge having managed five goals in his last six Premier League appearances against the Blues.

Steven Gerrard has five goals and two assists in his last six and on the home side Romalu Lukaku has managed four in his last five against the Reds.

Free Soccer Pick: Over 3.5 goals 3.4 (12/5)

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