A fascinating Merseyside derby on Saturday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) finds an angle to support.
Liverpool v Everton | Saturday 12:30 | Sky Sports 1
Since the mid-80's there have only been a few seasons where both these sides have packed an impressive punch, thankfully 2016/17 ticks that box.
The home side come into this game in fourth place on 56 points, Jurgen Klopp's side though have played more games than the three directly above them and the two teams below them in the table. The stakes are high here.
Everton are three places back in seventh position and are desperately trying to penetrate into the Top 6. With just nine games left this season Everton really need to pick up three points if they want to mingle amongst the elite.
Everton in great shape
They arrive at Anfield in terrific shape. Ronald Koeman has inspired his side to seven wins from their last 10 league matches and only one of those games ended in defeat – a terrific 3-2 loss to Spurs at White Hart Lane where they emerged with credit.
The Toffees are seven points clear of eight place West Brom now and they clearly look a cut above the rest of the table bar this elite six. Can they bridge the gap here?
Famously Everton haven't won at Anfield since 1999 and that's a damning stat. On top of that it's seven years and 13 games since they beat Liverpool at all and that clearly has to be a concern.
Head to head a big pointer
Head to head stats can be meaningless most of the time but in cases like this they are stark. Is it also any coincidence that the only league defeat Everton have suffered at Goodison in 11 months is against Liverpool in December last year?
So the blue half of Merseyside come into this game in great shape but just two away wins in 12 and their awful record against their neighbours means I can't back them here.
Liverpool's brilliant win over Tottenham in mid-February has turned their season around and since then victories have come against Arsenal and Burnley and a draw was secured at the Etihad.
Liverpool over the last two months have faced four of the other Top 6 and have come out unbeaten. Their thirst for these kind of matches is clear to see and Klopp has won both his encounters with Everton to nil.
As always it's a matter of price. With Liverpool around the 8/11 mark I'm happy to pass that up and focus on goals. Over 2.5 is a shade of odds on but I'll plunge deeper and back both to notch in this kind of match.
With the onus on Liverpool here, it's comforting for Over 2.5 & BTTS backers to see that they've leaked in nine of their last 10 matches while Everton have scored in 12 of their last 13 games. It all adds up.
Liverpool v Everton – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (11/10 Stan James)