Paddy’s Preview: Liverpool vs Everton

Not one but two Everton strikers scored. In the same game no less. A feat we haven’t seen since that 5-1 Carling Cup win against Huddersfield back in August.

It’s easy to discount last weekend’s win because it was against a side struggling in the Championship but these games are often a bigger test of a side’s mental toughness, rather than their footballing ability. And if there’s one quality David Moyes’ side has an abundance of it’s mental toughness. The way the frontmen have performed at times they’ve really needed it this season too. If the likes of Saha and Beckford can start to chip in with goals, then the only way is up for the Toffees.

On the back of that impressive win over Spurs, scoring five away to Scunthorpe in a game they controlled from start to finish is exactly what the manager would have wanted heading in to the second Merseyside Derby of the season. Liverpool’s troubles are exactly that, Liverpool’s. David Moyes won’t be thinking about Kenny Dalglish, Bill Shankly or whoever else the red half of Liverpool wants to drag out of its past. Instead he’ll be reminding his players of how comfortably they beat their local rivals at Goodison and that they have a great opportunity to complete their first league double over them since the mid 80s.

For all of Liverpool’s troubles this season, they’ve managed to keep things together at home for the most part. However the two games they lost at Anfield were against Wolves and Blackpool. No offense to either club but they are certainly sides Everton are more than capable of emulating. 11/4 is a decent price on the away win but with six away draws from ten games this season, if we’re using the stats as a guide, then the draw at 23/10 is worth a sensible look too.

With Cahill playing in the Asia Cup other players were needed to step forward and Seamus Coleman is one of those to do just that. The young Irishman has been excellent all season and having scored three in his last four games, it’s almost surprising to see him at 18/1 to score first and 7/1 to score anytime. Mikel Arteta scored in the reverse fixture and as a likely penalty and free-kick taker he’s worth a look at 11/1 to score first and 4/1 to score anytime. Liverpool have struggled from crosses this season and whether Dalglish can correct that flaw or not, he’s unlikely to be able to do it within a week, so the big boys come in to play. Phil Jagielka should be back in time for this game and he’s 33/1 to score first, with Distin 50/1 and the Fellaini at 14/1.

As with all derbies this has the potential to turn in to an end-to-end goal-fest but with both teams experiencing some issues up front this may be a little tighter. Everton 2-1 at 11/1 looks a reasonable prediction. The one thing we can predict is that there is going to be an electric atmosphere at Anfield this Sunday and it could be the team which keeps its head better which will triumph. From what we’ve seen so far this season, there’s only one team to back in this scenario and you can do so at 11/4

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