Liverpool v Everton
Tuesday 28th January – 8.00pm BT Sport 1
Merseyside derbies are always fiercely competitive, even when no more than bragging rights are at stake.
However, the clash between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on Tuesday night is arguably one of the most significant in recent years – this time, the stakes are very high.
Indeed, both clubs have emerged as genuine contenders for a top-four spot this season. Currently, the Reds are fourth in the Premier League, with Everton just a point adrift in sixth place.
Rodgers and Martinez making waves on Merseyside
Following several years of under-achievement fuelled by a lack of managerial consistency and poor decisions in the transfer market, Liverpool are once again a potent force under the stewardship of Brendan Rodgers.
Since arriving at Anfield in June 2012, Rodgers has transformed the Reds from a disjointed side short of ideas into an organised outfit that are solid in defence and lethal in attack.
The 41-year-old handled the Luis Suarez summer transfer saga exceptionally well and is reaping the benefits, with the Uruguayan now seemingly content at Anfield and scoring for fun.
Suarez has netted 22 times in all competitions since returning from suspension in September, and has forged a deadly strike partnership with Daniel Sturridge.
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, has had a profound effect in his first season in the hot-seat at Goodison Park.
The Toffees were largely dependable under David Moyes, but since Martinez’s arrival in the summer Everton have been playing with greater flamboyance and, for the first time in almost a decade, they are live contenders for a Champions League place.
Both Rodgers and Martinez have plenty of injury woes at present. Liverpool will be forced to field a makeshift back four, with Glen Johnson’s name added to the list of defenders on the treatment table, while defensive midfielder Lucas is also sidelined at present.
Conversely, it’s going forward where Everton have been weakened most due to injuries. Bryan Oviedo, Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman and Steven Pienaar are all on the easy list at present.
Liverpool v Everton betting
When the two clubs met at Goodison Park in November they played out a high-octane 3-3 draw – it was a classic among Merseyside derby classics.
It’s doubtful that this fixture will produce pyrotechnics on that scale, though.
Frustratingly for Martinez, his chances of capitalising on Liverpool’s current defensive frailties have been hampered by injuries to key attacking players, such as Deulofeu and Pienaar.
Meanwhile, Rodgers will be able to deploy Suarez, Sturridge, Steven Gerrard and Phillipe Coutinho, so Liverpool will possess plenty of verve going forward.
Though the Reds will need to play with a degree of restraint due to their problems at the back, they haven’t lost a league Merseyside derby at Anfield since 1999, and the 5/6 on offer with Betfred about a home win represents decent value as far as odds on shots go.
The Warrington firm are offering an excellent incentive relating to the first goalscorer market in this match: if your player opens the scoring and then goes on to score another, Betfred will double your first goalscorer price. If he subsequently nets a hat-trick, they’ll treble it!
Suarez has struck in three of his four appearances in Merseyside derbies, and the in-form striker is 5/2 with Betfred in the first goalscorer market. If you back the 27-year-old and he scores first and then again subsequently in the match, that price will effectively swell to 5/1.
However, if you’re in the Everton camp ahead of this match, Romelu Lukaku, who has scored four times in as many Premier League games against Liverpool, is a 13/2 chance in the same market. If you back him in the first goalscorer market and he obliges prior to netting a brace, Betfred will pay you out at 13/1.
It’s an offer not to be sniffed at. Click here to open an account with Betfred and take advantage of this outstanding promotion!