Can perfect Everton exploit Liverpool’s weaknesses in mouth-watering Merseyside derby?
Liverpool to win 2-1
Liverpool gave us one of the biggest shocks in recent memory as they were thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa before the International break.
Many of the myths surrounding Liverpool’s impenetrable defence were shattered, and even though it is likely to be a blip on the road to another league title challenge, it certainly gave them food for thought.
Everton have been virtually flawless in their 100% winning record so far, taking three points from all four of their games so far.
They haven’t played anyone of Liverpool’s calibre just yet, although they did beat a poor Spurs on the first day of the season. This will certainly be their biggest test so far.
It’s one of the most fascinating Merseyside derbies in recent years – if Liverpool win, they will be back on track to continue their title defence. But if Everton win to continue their winning record, they will gain even more admiration from the footballing world.
Form Guide (all comps): WWWWW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Have won all seven of their matches this season
Key players are in sparkling form and will relish the derby
Reasons to be fearful:
Not beaten Liverpool in a decade
Liverpool will demand a response after 7-2 defeat
Just imagine, for a second, that Everton beat Liverpool this weekend.
They’ll have won all five of their league games, plus another three in the cup taking them through to the Carabao Cup Quarter Finals. They will have beaten last season’s champions, as well as Spurs and their confidence will be sky-high.
There is an age to go until next May, but the longer their winning streak continues, the more we must consider them as challenges to the top four, if not higher.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has reached a new level completely from previous seasons. In a fantastic vein of form, he has nine goals already for Everton, as well as scoring on his England debut last week.
The world has also seen the return to form of James Rodriguez under mentor Carlo Ancelotti – the two clearly share a special football relationship.
Everton have their best chance of beating Liverpool in a decade, but they will need to play at their best to do so.
Star Man – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
In absolutely inspired form, recently earning an England call-up. Can cause any defence problems.
Form Guide (all comps): WWWLL
Reasons to be cheerful
Excellent record over Everton
Key players back after contracting Covid-19
Reasons to be fearful
Defence looks shaky and kept only one clean sheet in last eight
Everton will fancy their chances and are in great form
Unlike Manchester United’s 6-1 loss to Spurs last weekend, Liverpool’s own heavy defeat at Aston Villa feels more of a blip than a sign of bad things to come.
It’s a staggering result for sure, and the first time Liverpool have conceded seven goals since 1963. It’ll go down as one of the most unbelievable scorelines in Premier League history.
But Liverpool manager Klopp knows full well that his squad have not gotten worse since last season, though there are things that he must address.
His golden goose Van Dijk has not been the unbeatable warrior he has been the previous two seasons and they’ve been too easy to create chances against. Their lack of clean sheets is evidence for that.
However, their attack is as good as ever – arguably even better since the signing of Thiago, and Sadio Mane will return to the squad after contracting coronavirus.
They will be demanding a big response this weekend.
Star Man – Sadio Mane
They missed his defending from the front against Villa. He is critical to how Liverpool play.
An even game between two top sides
Both teams likely to score
Liverpool could just edge it if they are on top form
After the return of the International break, there’s nothing better to get fans back into the excitement of the Premier League than a fascinating derby between two in-form teams.
The Merseyside derby is always a high-energy clash and usually a close affair no matter where either side are in the table.
But with both teams in great attacking form, and for once Everton on top of the league table, this should be a brilliant game of football.
Expect goals from both sides, but if Liverpool can shore up their defence, they could just edge this.
Liverpool to win 2-1