The age old notion that anything can happen in a derby match does not really seem to apply when these two meet, especially at Anfield. Everton have a poor record against their near neighbours, with just three victories in the last 34 league meetings between the two sides and no win away from home since 1999. With that sort of paltry record, it's no surprise that Jurgen Klopp's men are favourites but can Ronald Koeman finally be the Blues boss to deliver a much awaited Anfield win? Our preview looks ahead to the 228th Merseyside Derby.
After a miserable January in which the wheels threatened to well and truly come off, Liverpool have stabilised themselves though they are still firmly in a fight for Champions League qualification. Games like this one however are exactly the kind of fixture they seem to thrive in, the big occasions. In the games against the other sides in the top six, they have picked up 20 points this season which the most of any side and they have not lost to any side in the top half of the table in the league all season. They've won their last three on the bounce at Anfield, with victories over both Tottenham and Arsenal in that recent run so there is plenty to suggest that Jurgen Klopp will have his men as fired up for this one.
However another interesting stat to consider when betting on this encounter is Liverpool's record in the early kick-off's. In games kicking off up to 1.30pm, Klopp has lost seven times in 15 matches yielding just a 33 percent win ratio. A mere coincidence? Or a worrying trend? Well the energy zapping way in which Klopp's side play could have some bearing, with his side perhaps unable to quite get going early on?
Another of the classic cliches for derby games is that 'form goes out of the window'. Everton will be hoping that is not the case this weekend as they make the short trip across Stanley Park on a really strong run of form. Since defeat to Liverpool at home back in December, they have lost just one league game since. Eight wins in 12 games since that run will see Ronald Koeman and his men high on confidence, with the Blues full of goals at present.
Despite the speculation surrounding his future, Romelu Lukaku continues to do the business on the pitch and his brace against Hull last time out means he has nine goals in his last six league outings. Liverpool are not renowned for being particularly tight at the back so Lukaku's impact on the derby will be key - Do the Reds really have anyone capable of keeping him quiet?
Everton will come in to the derby without the services of Seamus Coleman, who suffered a horrific broken leg whilst playing for Ireland, and also Ramiro Funes Mori. With the Blues missing key defenisve personnel and their strength lying in going forward, are we going to be set for a high scoring affair?
Both sides are better going forward than they are defensively and although these games can be cagey affairs, we can certainly both sides getting on the scoresheet. The safe bet here would be on both teams to score and if pushed we'd go with Liverpool to win, given their big game record.