Well, colour us impressed. We fancied Liverpool to beat Middlesbrough on Tuesday, make no mistake, but the scoreline and the domination of the performance took even our optimistic breath away.
Goals from Adam Lallana, who is simply on fire at the moment, and Divock Origi secured a 3-0 win and it could have been even more if Sadio Mane hadn’t been quite as wasteful in front of goal. The Boro were limited to half-chances at best as Jurgen Klopp decided to replace the error-strewn Lorus Karius in goal with Simon Mignolet, while Ragnar Klavan came in for the rested Joel Matip. The result was a commanding display at both ends of the pitch.
The Reds are just six points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea now, and the Christmas/New Year period will be very interesting in determining who enters 2017 as the dominant force in the division.
In the immediate future, there is a much bigger assignment at hand. Monday’s trip to Goodison Park will, as ever, offer a stern test of credentials, but a general lack of form from Everton – backed by the knowledge that they’ve only beaten us once in 22 meetings – is cause for complete confidence. Even without Philipp Coutinho, the Reds will be buzzing about their chances of getting one over on those blue boys from Walton.
Liverpool Team News
Klopp rang a couple of changes for the trip to Middlesbrough; both of which came from choice, rather than necessity. Lorus Karius was taken out of the media firing line after making a couple of mistakes of late, and it was good to see Simon Mignolet competently dealing with the few shots he had to save.
Joel Matip was rested – the Cameroon international has been battling a few knocks of late – but he should be fighting fit for Monday night. In retrospect, it was nice to see Ragnar Klavan give his most accomplished Premier League performance in Matip’s absence. Who knows when he will be needed next.
It is expected that Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can will also have recovered in time from their respective injuries to take their place on the bench. A timely return indeed.
The good news for Klopp is that Liverpool are in such good form that he doesn’t have to make any changes to tactically nullify Everton; instead it will be the Toffees that alter their style to cater for us. It’s a happy case of ‘on you go lads’ for Klopp and his team at the moment.
Tuesday’s victory over Arsenal was hugely important for Everton for a number of reasons, but most chiefly it ended a winless run of five matches. The Toffees overwhelmed the Gunners in a number of departments and won the match courtesy of two goals from crosses – it will be important for the Reds to be on their mettle ahead of the aerial battle. But for a mad final five minutes, the Blues just about deserved their win.
In truth though they have been really poor of late. Prior to Tuesday they had lost three of previous five outings; shipping five against Chelsea and three against Watford. Things have been slightly better at home for Ronald Koeman’s side, and they are yet to taste defeat at Goodison Park this term….but there’s always a first time for everything, of course.
Fixtures like this often take on a life of their own and create their own pages in history. The fact that, barring a 0-2 defeat in 2010, Liverpool haven’t lost against Everton in a decade. The last four at Goodison have ended in stalemate though, and clearly the Blues raise their game in front of their own supporters. Six of the last ten Liverpool vs Everton meetings have witnessed three or more goals – Monday’s encounter should follow a similar theme.
Everton vs Liverpool Betting Tips
If this match had taken place last weekend, we would have been all over a Liverpool victory. We were in the ascendancy, while the Toffees were feeling lower than a snake’s privates.
But their 2-1 win over Arsenal in midweek is likely to have buoyed them substantially, and that might just be enough for them to sneak their traditional point in the Merseyside derby at Goodison – the draw is available at a best price of 27/10.
There are opportunities in the Correct Score market to explore. We expect there to be goals here: Everton have scored in all eight of their home Premier League matches this term and conceded in six of those, while the Reds – the top flight’s leading goalscorers – have conceded in 7/9 on the road.
But with the draw looming large in our thoughts, the 1-1 (13/2) and 2-2 (14/1) scorelines are both of interest.
The Everton backline, principally the centre-back pairing of Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori, looks shaky, and with Divock Origi – five in five – in such red hot form, his price of 9/5 to score at any time looks excellent value.