Bragging rights, three precious Premier League points, and our bet builder success are on the line when local antagonists Liverpool and Everton meet at Anfield for the 242nd Merseyside Derby this evening.
Jurgen Klopp’s limp Reds are still searching for their first league victory of the New Year and they could find it tough to break their duck against a Toffees outfit re-energized by the appointment of tough taskmaster, Sean Dyche.
You know the drill by now – below, I’ve laid out my stats pack for this evening’s showdown, which is packed to bursting with enough info to ensure your bet builder coupons are jammed with quality selections. Use the mountain of metrics alongside my Stats Pack Guide for better results.
Luis Diaz and Ibrahima Konate both remain sidelined for Liverpool, while Virgil van Dijk is also expected to miss out again as he steps up his recovery from a thigh injury. Brazilian pair Arthur Melo and Roberto Firmino have returned to training, though neither will expect to start just yet.
Diogo Jota should make a welcome return to the matchday squad, while Thiago Alcantara should be fit enough to feature after a groin complaint. Joel Matip should partner Joe Gomez at centre-half again.
Everton will cross Stanley Park without the services of injured pair Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson, while Michael Keane and James Garner are both considered major doubts.
Star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been rated as “touch-and-go” for today’s game by Sean Dyche and if the 25-year-old old cannot play, Neal Maupay could slot in for the Toffees at centre-forward.
Despite their remarkably low league position (10th), Liverpool’s shots and xG for per 90 figures have been among the division’s best over the course of the campaign, though those metrics have started to wane for the Reds more recently.
Indeed, Liverpool lost the xG battle in each of their last three Premier League assignments. Usually renowned for their clean disciplinary record, Pool have collected three cards in three of their last four league fixtures, a haul which points to heightened frustrations in their ranks.
Everton wiped their statistical plate for the campaign clean last week with the arrival of Sean Dyche and the new Toffees’ boss masterminded a 1-0 victory over league-leading Arsenal in his first match at the helm.
In that triumph, Everton mustered 12 attempts, made 18 tackles, committed 13 fouls, collected four cards and posted an xG of 1.7 to the Gunners’ 0.9, all while having less than 30% of the ball. Expect a similarly aggressive gameplan today.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
With January signing Cody Gakpo hitting the target with just one shot in total in three Premier League appearances since his move from PSV, and Mohamed Salah registering just a single attempt on target in his last five runouts in all competitions, machine-gun shooter Darwin Nunez could be your best bet in the shot markets this evening.
Nunez is still erratic when it comes to actually putting the ball in the net, though he is a brilliant performer from a bet-building perspective. The Uruguayan hit the target with at least two efforts in three of his last five Premier League appearances and he is priced at a generous-looking 5/6 to match that output today.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin threatened Arsenal with four attempts last weekend, and Sean Dyche will be desperate to get the 25-year-old on the pitch if he can today. However, with the centre-forward a major doubt, we should look elsewhere for shot market options in the Toffees’ ranks.
Winger Demarai Gray has clocked a shot on target in three of his last four and can be backed at 8/11 to repeat the trick at Anfield. Last weekend’s match-winger James Tarkowski is an interesting option at 7/2 in the same market. The centre-half might find joy from set pieces, especially with Virgil van Dijk absent for Liverpool.
Player Goals and Assists
Insanely, Leicester City defender Wout Faes, who netted two own goals against Liverpool on December 30th, is the Reds’ leading scorer in the league since Christmas, and each member of Jurgen Klopp’s frontline will be desperate to end dry spells this evening.
Egyptian Mohamed Salah has scored four goals in previous Merseyside Derbies and that record gives him the edge in the markets ahead of his teammates today. Salah is 13/10 to find the net anytime again today, while he is also great value at 4/6 to either score or assist.
When Sean Dyche is involved, set-pieces will always be seen as a goal-scoring avenue worth exploring, and centre-halves James Tarkowski and Conor Coady could be worth watching today in an Everton side low on reliable goal-getters further up the pitch.
Centre-backs scored against Liverpool in each of the Reds’ last two matches (Dawson for Wolves, Dunk for Brighton) and Tarkowski (17/1) alongside ex-Reds academy graduate Coady (18/1) are both very presentable options this evening.
Liverpool will expect to control possession for long periods at Anfield today and accomplished distributors like Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold should see plenty of the ball.
There’s value on offer in the 70+ passes market here, with Gomez (2/5), Matip (8/13) and Alexander-Arnold (evens) all keenly priced. All three of those defenders played at least 78 passes against Wolves in Liverpool’s last Premier League fixture.
Everton held just 29.3% possession against Arsenal last weekend, though the Toffees didn’t need much of the ball to wreak havoc against the Gunners. Sean Dyche’s side are almost certain to feed on scraps again in that department at Anfield, and that means most of their players are probably best ignored in the passes market this evening.
Jordan Pickford (31) played more passes than any of his teammates against the Gunners last week, though Belgian midfielder Amadou Onana ran him closest (30). However, Onana is as short as 1/8 to beat a 30-passes target today, so we are up against it here.
Joe Gomez has been carded in two of his last four appearances for Liverpool and the defender, whose nerves can fray, could be in for another uncomfortable evening in what should be an intense Merseyside Derby. The 25-year-old is priced at 21/10 to be cautioned again today.
Thiago Alcantara has committed at least two fouls in four of his last six runouts for the Reds and the Spanish ankle nipper is available at 5/6 to lodge two more this evening. Alexander-Arnold meanwhile, who will mark the livewire Demarai Gray, is 2/5 to be collared for at least one foul.
One of Neal Maupay and Dominic Calvert-Lewin will lead the line for Everton today, and both strikers are listed among the Toffees’ most-fouled players this term. Either centre-forward would test Joe Gomez’s mettle this evening.
Demarai Gray’s acceleration should stretch Trent Alexander-Arnold down the Everton left, while the abrasive Idrissa Gueye, who has been fouled more than any other Blue in 2022/23, should draw the worst out of Thiago Alcantara in midfield.
Match-Ups to watch
Joe Gomez vs Neal Maupay/Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Demarai Gray
Thiago Alcantara vs Idrissa Gueye
Amadou Onana and Idrissa Gueye, who have collected nine Premier League cards between them this season, form a blue-clad brick wall in midfield for Everton. Both anchormen committed two fouls each against Arsenal last week, so look out for more heavy hits from that duo today.
Onana is 11/10 to pocket his seventh card of the campaign, while Gueye should pique your interest at 8/11 to commit two or more fouls again. Victor Mykolenko was also cautioned against the Gunners for one of the three free kicks he gave away, and the 23-year-old is very backable at 11/4 to see yellow again later on.
I expect the midfield to see plenty of action at Anfield this evening and with the tackles certain to fly, the routinely fouled Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcantara could be in for a bruising evening against Everton’s Onana and Gueye.
Mohamed Salah isn’t listed among Liverpool’s most-kicked players this term, however, the Reds talisman comes up against the hyper-aggressive Victor Mykolenko at Anfield, and the Everton fullback committed more fouls (three) and ranked joint-first for tackles (four) against Arsenal last weekend.
Match-Ups to watch
Amadou Onana vs Stefan Bajcetic
Idrissa Gueye vs Thiago
Victor Mykolenko vs Mohamed Salah
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Here’s a few bet builder selections that drew my attention when compiling the data. You can load them into your Betfair betslip at 3/1 in just one click below.
Liverpool vs Everton
Liverpool average 6.85 corners per game.
This increases to 7.60 at Anfield.
Everton concede an average of6.52 corners per game.
This increases to 7.20 away from home.
Liverpool average 60% possession while Everton average just 40%. In Sean Dyche’s first game vs Arsenal, the Toffees had just 29% possession and conceded 5 corners at Goodison.
Everton average 2.19 cards per game.
Referee Simon Hooper averages 3.00 cards per game.
This selection has returned in the last 3 Merseyside derbies. With Everton getting 2, 5, and 4 cards in those 3 games.
James Tarkowski averages 0.95 fouls p/90 in the Premier League this season.
He has received 4 bookings.
He has committed a foul in all of his last 3 games, and 6 in his last 6.
Up against the likes of Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez who are fouled 0.61 and 0.91 times p/90 respectively.
Darwin Nunez averages 1.09 fouls p/90.
He has received 2 bookings in 15 outings.
Everton’s midfield, Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana average 2.13 and 2.06 fouls drawn p/90.