EVERTON V LIVERPOOL
Saturday November 23rd. 12:45PM. BT Sport 1.
After a pretty dismal week for the national side, Premier League football returns on Saturday and at Goodison Park we’re in for a cracker in the lunchtime kick-off.
THE MERSEYSIDE DERBY
The weekend’s opening match will be the 221st chapter in one of the world’s oldest derbies. Liverpool hold the upper hand both overall and in the Premier League era but Everton are certainly capable of an upset.
However, despite many close contests in recent years, the Toffees have only tasted victory twice in the last 16 encounters and one of those was after extra-time in a cup match. Perhaps not the best omen for the home side, but with a new gaffer the tides may be about to turn.
New Everton manager Roberto Martinez has undoubtedly settled into life at Goodison with consummate ease. However, the Spaniard will be stepping into uncharted territory when taking charge of his first Merseyside derby.
The Toffees sit sixth, heading into this weekend’s fixtures and could join Liverpool in second should they claim the spoils on Saturday. If the home side are to be victorious then they may have to rely on the form of on-loan Romelu Lukaku, who already has 5 goals to his name for his temporary club.
Martinez will not be able to call upon the services of Tony Hibbert though, as Everton’s longest-serving player is not set to return from injury for another week or two.
THE FRIENDLY DERBY
Nicknamed ‘the friendly derby’, bookies have priced this pretty evenly and struggle to find a firm favourite. With it being played at Goodison, it is hard to argue a case for either side. Everton are still undefeated at home under Martinez, whilst Liverpool’s only defeat on the road came at table-topping Arsenal.
Both encounters ended in draws last term, and it could well end that way again here. If that is the outcome, you expect that both sets of supporters will go home relatively happy.
LIVERPOOL’S ‘SAS’ COULD HOLD THE KEY
With 16 league goals between them, it isn’t hard to predict where Liverpool will look for attacking inspiration. As the division’s joint top-scorers, alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, the SAS combo of Sturridge and Suarez is one that has been tormenting defences all season.
In Suarez’s case, the return of 8 goals is made even more remarkable by the fact he missed the first part of the season due to serving the remainder of his ten-match suspension. With just half a dozen appearances, the Uruguayan is currently scoring at a rate of more than one a game.
Meanwhile, captain Steven Gerrard is far and away the most prolific marksman in this fixture from the current crop of players and will be looking for his 9th goal of this fixture for his boyhood club.
Remember this game is part of BetFred’s Double Delight / Hat-trick Heaven promotion. With the form he is, Suarez (7/2) could be a player.