THE Premier League returns on Saturday as Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison Park in the Merseyside Derby Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Everton v Liverpool | Saturday 7th April 2018, 12:30 | Sky Sports
With the Toffees sitting on the much sought after 40-point mark inside the Premier League’s top-half, it’s fair to say Sam Allardyce has achieved what he was tasked with when taking over from Ronald Koeman.
However, the style of play coupled with some poor performances means it’s difficult see a scenario where Allardyce is in charge next season. Paulo Fonseca’s name has been banded around over the last month or so.
In seven games versus the top-six under Allardyce, Everton have yielded a record of W0-D2-L5. The two draws come in the first two of those seven games, so the Toffees have effectively lost five to the top-six on the bounce conceding 16 and scoring three.
Buzzing from Wednesday’s first-leg result against Man City, Liverpool will be keen to extend their phenomenal record against Everton. But the fixture list has not been kind to the Reds.
The Wednesday-Saturday shift is always dreaded by Champions League outfits, and they could bear the effect given they were without the ball for 66% of the time in Wednesday’s high-intensity encounter. With an eye on Tuesday’s return leg, surely Jurgen Klopp will manage his troops, even with a three-goal cushion.
Injuries to Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Emre Can and Adam Lallana mean heavy rotation is unlikely. One man the Anfield faithful will be sweating over is top scorer Mo Salah. Salah came off early on Wednesday with a groin issue and could sit out the trip to Goodison.
Tiredness to play its part
A shrewd way of applying the fatigue angle could be through the first goal time market, but looking at the line set, that’s already accounted for.
At 11/10 Under 2.5 goals could be the next best thing. The potential absences of Gyfli Sigurdsson and Salah boost our claims too.
Sigurdsson has been directly involved in 18% of Everton’s Premier League goals this season, while Salah’s Liverpool involvement is 51% in the Premier League. The pair’s quality in the final third will undoubtedly be missed if this plays out as a tight affair.
Everton have conceded just 10 shots-on-target in their last three matches while Liverpool have a history against sides who sit ultra-deep. Plus, Klopp’s men followed up the January victory against City with consecutive losses against Swansea and West Brom. There’s enough reason to justify a stake here.
No bet on the bookings
With it being a derby, I hit the trenches to find an edge in the cards market, but Andre Marriner’s referee stats mean we have to be cautious. He’s shown just 57 cards in 22 Premier League matches this campaign, giving an average of 2.6 cards per game.
Mane the man
Given the potential absence of Salah, there may not be a better time to side with Sadio Mane. After all, we mustn’t forget that last season he was Liverpool’s top scorer with 13 league goals and has found the net in each of his last two.
Mane has scored the opening Liverpool goal in five of 32 league games this season. That record stands at four of 16 on the road. This becomes significant when you consider the trio of Salah, Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge have been responsible for the opening Liverpool goal 50% of the time in the league this season.
He averages 2.5 shots per PL away match in the 2017/18 term and at 5/1 to score Liverpool’s opening goal we can take advantage.
Everton v Liverpool – Under 2.5 Goals (11/10 Blacktype)
Everton v Liverpool – Sadio Mane to score Liverpool’s first goal (5/1 Betfair)