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Premier League: 5 Key Battles That Could Decide Liverpool vs Everton
Simon Winter
Simon Winter
November 30, 2018
Show Bio

Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.

Acerbic local rivalries will be renewed this weekend as red and blue collide in the 232nd Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on Sunday.

It’s an occasion where emotion and a desperation to win often combine to produce drama by the bucketful. Since the inception of the Premier League, more red cards have been shown in games between Liverpool and Everton than in any other fixture (check out our Premier League cards and corners predictions ahead of the weekend’s action here).

It’s also a game Evertonians have come to loathe in recent seasons – the Toffees haven’t beaten their arch rivals in any of their last 17 clashes with them.

Sunday’s contest will be the 100th Merseyside Derby played at Anfield and Liverpool, who are unbeaten in 27 Premier League games at home, are heavy favourites to mark that century with a win.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important individual battles that are could play a key role in deciding the outcome of Liverpool’s showdown with Everton on Saturday.

Make sure to check out our expert Liverpool vs Everton match preview, predictions and betting tips too!

Roberto Firmino vs Kurt Zouma

Brazilian international Roberto Firmino is probably the least heralded member of Liverpool’s frightening attacking triumvirate.

While Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah generally provide more spectacular game-defining moments, Firmino’s tactical awareness and intelligent appreciation of space remain integral parts of Liverpool’s attacking system as a whole.

On Sunday, Firmino is likely to place himself closer to Everton’s Kurt Zouma rather than his central defensive partner Michael Keane. While Keane has demonstrated a consistency in Everton’s rearguard this season, Zouma’s form has been considerably more erratic.

If Firmino can use his clever movement to draw Zouma out of position, there could be huge gaps for Mane and Salah to exploit in his absence.

James Milner vs Gylfi Sigurdsson

Tranmere vs Liverpool predictions

With Jordan Henderson suspended for Sunday’s game after his red card against Watford, James Milner will be tasked with providing much of Liverpool’s physicality and bite in midfield against Everton.

Milner’s combative qualities are highly-valued by Jurgen Klopp and the versatile 32-year old has made more tackles (1.7) and interceptions (1.1) per game on average than any of his Liverpool midfield teammates this season.

One of Milner’s main tasks will be to limit the impact of Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic attacking midfielder has been one of Everton’s best performers this season, amassing 6 goals and 2 assists in 13 Premier League starts.

Mohamed Salah vs Lucas Digne

Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah hasn’t quite hit the heights of last season so far this term – though replicating the form he showed during his sensational debut campaign in England was always going to be a near impossible feat.

Salah’s record of a goal every other game this season can still be considered relatively prolific for a player in his position however, and the Egyptian will be aiming to register his 3rd goal in as many Premier League games for Liverpool this weekend.

In direct opposition to Salah is likely to be Everton left-back Lucas Digne. The 25-year old technically accomplished fullback is enjoying a productive season for the Toffees and the Frenchman’s skillset should make him a worthy antagonist for Salah.

Salah looks a great bet at odds of 4/6 with bet365 to score the second Merseyside Derby goal of his Liverpool career anytime in this weekend’s crucial contest.

Virgil van Dijk vs Richarlison

Everton Richarlison

Liverpool have kept 10 clean sheets in their last 11 Premier League home matches and their defensive resurgence can be traced all the way back to their world-record signing of Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk has been an ever present for Liverpool in the Premier League this season and the giant Dutch defender has played a significant role in helping the Reds maintain the joint best defensive record in the division after 13 rounds of fixtures.

Everton’s Richarlison will be hoping to unsettle van Dijk on Sunday with his perpetual movement and explosive runs into the channels. The Brazilian is Everton’s joint top scorer this season, though he has hit the net just twice in November.

The 20-year old will relish the opportunity to enhance his already burgeoning reputation this weekend however, though he will need plenty of service if he is to shine.

Liverpool will expect to be on the front foot for most of the 90 minutes on Sunday, making their chances of keeping another Anfield clean sheet extremely high. You can get odds of 11/10 with bet365 on Liverpool keeping Everton off the scoresheet.

Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Bernard

Liverpool’s exciting youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold continues to thrill the Anfield support with his all-action displays from right back.

The 20-year old Liverpudlian curled in a stunning free kick in the Reds 3-0 win at Watford last weekend, though his considerable attacking input continues to mask more than one or two defensive and positional deficiencies.

As with many players of similar age, Alexander-Arnold can sometimes be caught out by the canny manoeuvres of more experienced players. On Sunday, the fullback will have to track the migrations of Everton’s Bernard – a player who loves to drift off the touchline and into more central areas.

Bernard has been feeling his way into Everton’s team this season, though his influence has started to increase of late. Bernard has started less than half of Everton’s league matches this season, however he already ranks 3rd in their squad for average key passes per game (1.6).

The diminutive South American schemer is already among Everton’s most fouled players this season – the former Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker has been stopped illegally 1.2 times per game since moving to England. With that considered, bet365’s odds of 15/8 for Alexander-Arnold to get booked during Sunday’s game look more than a little tempting.

Find detailed match previews, predictions and betting tips for every Premier League fixture this weekend here.

Liverpool vs Everton Betting Offers

Betfair have a superb enhanced offer for new customers looking to bet on Sunday’s Merseyside Derby. They’re giving new signups odds of 20/1 for a Liverpool win at Anfield. Max Stake is £1 and the winnings are paid in free bets. (T&Cs apply)

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