Everton vs Liverpool | Saturday 17th September 2020, 12:30 | BT Sport
The Merseyside derby kicks-off the Premier League weekend after an annoying international break and it’s some fixture to take the opening bow. Many wouldn’t have been surprised if Liverpool were at the top of the table so far but many would’ve been surprised if Everton were, well that is the case currently.
The Toffees really tailed off towards the end of last season but it’s understandable why they did, there was nothing to play for and preparations for this season were already being made. Carlo Ancelotti got his business done efficiently and effectively, early on in the window.
Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan seem to have plugged the gap in central midfield, a weak spot for Everton last season, whilst James Rodriguez, so well known to Don Carlo, has added real quality as well as a goal threat in a free role. Richarlison continues to cause headaches for defenders with his harrying, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is in the form of his life up-front.
The four wins out of four for the Blues may see a few punters happy to side with them at 3/1, you’d just have to hope that the international break hasn’t disrupted any rhythm built up by them beforehand. This is an early start on the Saturday when some players were involved in games on Wednesday night and that, combined with the travel, could see some of these key players off the pace.
The market is certainly expecting goals, with the Asian line at 3.25, the calamitous 7-2 defeat Liverpool had at Aston Villa a fortnight ago may have had a bearing on that. The Reds had no answer to Villa’s intensity and their defending was at times, embarrassing. It doesn’t help when you have Adrian in goal who is a huge downgrade on Allison.
But even the ever-capable Virgil Van Dijk doesn’t look the same player. It will be telling how they bounce back from such a defeat, they usually do.
The betting angles
Given the possible rustiness of the two sides I wouldn’t be surprised to see this derby fail to live up to the high expectations. Traditionally this is a low-scoring match, with a number of 0-0’s in recent years and with bragging rights at stake, the sides can adopt a more risk-averse mindset and a focus on not losing.
Jurgen Klopp set up his side in a more defensive, ball-keeping set-up away from home last season and I think he will revert back to that in order to halt the Everton attacking threats as much as possible. Being the outsiders still, the hosts may also be content with staying in the game, therefore I’m more inclined to oppose a high goal line.
Under 3.5 Goals is a bit too short to put up so I will head to the Bet365 Bet Builder market to get a bigger price. If we combine Under 4 Goals along with each individual side collecting fewer than four cards, we can get some 11/10 and I like that.
True, this is a derby but it’s fair to say that it’s lacked that fire it once had around a decade ago, there’s an awful lot of foreign players who may find it hard to fully grasp the derby nature, particularly without a boisterous atmosphere at Goodison, which will be sadly lacking.
Michael Oliver has the whistle and although he is one of the referees who likes to give penalty kicks, he’s not the most outrageous when it comes to getting his card out, especially in big games and derbies.
I’ll also jump into the player props market for a bit of a flyer of a 5/1 shot. Richarlison has largely being employed on the left by Ancelotti this season and that’s seen him get more involved in challenges when pressing onto the full back. He could well be in for another hard days work pressing onto Trent Alexander-Arnold to stop the England man getting on the ball. He loves pressing too and it’s therefore no surprise to see his tackle statistics on the up.
He made five successful tackles against Spurs on opening day and four against Crystal Palace a fortnight after. He made two in his only other full 90 minutes and was brought off early on against Brighton due to injury, so he is averaging 3.4 tackles per 90 minutes this season. Last season he averaged two tackles per-game but was employed more as a centre-forward, but that rose to 2.4 per 90 when operating on the left. It’s a key part of his game.