Now that’s more like it. Most pundits – ourselves included – expected an Everton side rejuvenated under Sean Dyche to give a strong account of themselves in the Merseyside derby on Monday night, but the truth is that the Toffees weren’t able to as Liverpool produced a stirring display of determination, energy and no little attacking quality.
If there’s anything we have learned from the 2022/23 campaign so far, it’s not to expect consecutive sterling displays from the Reds – their real Achilles heel has been an inability to back up one impeccable showing with another this term.
But even so, Liverpool fans can bask in the glory of a derby day demolition of their local rivals.
Their opener came courtesy of a bizarre moment of ‘what might have been’. Everton won a corner and the subsequent delivery was met by James Tarkowski, who headed against the post. The ball was cleared and the Reds streamed forward like the Red Arrows in formation, with the ball finally ending up at the feet of Mo Salah, who took advantage of some questionable decision-making from the on-rushing Jordan Pickford to slide home.
And the Anfield faithful would have been delighted that their heroes kept up the high tempo early in the second half. One such move saw Trent Alexander-Arnold get free down the right before his cross found its way to Cody Gakpo, who tapped home his first Liverpool goal in the simplest of fashion.
But for a late chance for Tom Davies and Tarkowski’s header, Everton rarely threatened as the Reds – unusually – looked solid at the back and well protected by a midfield marshalled by the returning Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
Be under no illusion, Saturday’s trip to Newcastle United will be much more difficult. But at least Jurgen Klopp and his players head north with some positivity to cling onto.
Liverpool Team News
As well as the positive performance on the pitch, it was also good to see the likes of Bobby Firmino and Diogo Jota get some minutes – the previously-injured pair entered the fray as late substitutes against Everton.
Building up their fitness will be important for the run-in to the end of the campaign, but for now you suspect that Klopp will be loathe to break up his front three of Salah, Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, who continue to look sharp as they build-up an understanding.
Virgil van Dijk has now returned to training, as has Arthur Melo, and so some of the injury-related problems in the squad are starting to clear.
Klopp will probably name the same eleven that started against Everton against Newcastle, although there will of course be a temptation to recall Van Dijk if he is considered to be match fit.
Newcastle United Form
Newcastle United continue to perform to a level that is greater than the sum of their parts this season.
The Magpies are still riding high in fourth place in the Premier League table, with the best defensive record by some margin to their name – just 13 goals have been scored past Nick Pope this term.
Perhaps the cracks are starting to emerge, however. Newcastle have drawn five of their last six league games, with three of those ending 0-0. Against both West Ham and Bournemouth recently, with whom they were locked in 1-1 stalemates, their opponents both created a handful of quality chances.
Eddie Howe’s men haven’t lost in the Premier League since August, but they’ve only won once since December.
Newcastle United vs Liverpool Betting Tips
Judging the outcome of this game is a potential minefield.
Newcastle evidently aren’t at their absolute best right now, yet they remain a very difficult team to beat. Their Premier League formline at St James’s Park this term reads W6 D5 L0.
We’ve learned too that one swallow doesn’t make a summer as far as Liverpool’s performances are concerned, and so backing the draw at 5/2 should at least give punters a good run for their money.
But we can dig deeper. Although the clean sheet against Everton was welcome, Liverpool still fail to convince defensively and aside from a couple of blanks in 2023 so far, it’s a rare day that Newcastle don’t score at least once.
The Reds possess plenty of attacking quality and the Magpies have been yielding big chances lately, so Both Teams to Score has to be of interest at 7/10.
For more of a ‘hail Mary’ bet, if we’re thinking both teams will score in a draw, why not simply try your luck with a correct score punt of 1-1 at odds of 6/1?