The first Merseyside Derby of the season awaits us this Saturday lunchtime, in what is often an exceptionally feisty affair. Everton are winless since the beginning of the season but have collected points in each of their last three fixtures in the league, drawing on each of these occasions. There seems to be some steady improvement under Lampard, especially in a defensive sense. James Tarkowski and Conor Coady have added experience, as well as better quality to the backline itself. However, the struggles have been at the other end of the pitch. Only Anthony Gordon has looked like offering some sort of attacking threat, he’s had 16 shots, 12 of which have been on target and notched in his previous two games. With the signing of Neal Maupay announced within the last week, the club may now have a ready-made number 9, who has the ability to score goals. This is something that has been missing with backup striker Solomon Rondon in dismal form, as well as the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin who has been absent frequently in recent months.
Liverpool arrive into this one with back to back victories attained, after stumbling to defeat to Manchester United in game week three. In what was a slow start to their campaign, momentum has been built in their two most recent matches. A bounce back victory against Bournemouth, triumphing by nine goals to nil was a real stand out. In addition to this, the manner in which they got over the line against Newcastle midweek will certainly enhance their confidence ahead of this huge derby match. Fabio Carvalho’s strike at the death secured the three points, in a game Liverpool struggled to control for sustained periods of play. This match up against Everton is set to be a six pointer and either side will do whatever it takes to win the game!
Everton v Liverpool Predicted Line-ups
Everton’s possible starting lineup (4-5-1): Pickford; Patterson, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; McNeil, Davies, Onana, Iwobi, Gordon; Maupay
Liverpool’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Carvalho; Salah, Firmino, Diaz
A serial offender in the Liverpool side is Fabinho when it comes down to yellow cards received. He was the highest carded player for his team in the 21/22 season, with 7 bookings in total. In the matches where we’ve seen Fabinho play a full 90 minutes, he’s committed an average of 2 fouls per game. I feel in high pressure games such as this, averages can tend to be slightly higher due to the demands required. Therefore, it can be presumed that he may well end up committing higher numbers of fouls in this derby match. The holding midfield role he plays can often lead to him being the last line of defence in counter attacking situations. When on the back foot and up against raw pace in Gordon or Gray for example, then he may become exposed and end up in some tricky spots. In simple terms, there should be ample opportunities to see Taylor brandish a card his way.
He’s been dribbled past five times by opponents thus far and players such as Gray may well draw a foul from him in this match. To give some context here, Gray has attempted 16 dribbles in the matches he’s been involved in and the Brazillian won’t think twice about bringing him down if needed to. With Fabinho ready to be deployed as the deepest lying midfielder out of the Liverpool three in midfield, this can be an advantage to us. We can expect to see him covering varying positions in the defensive half of the field. If Everton have any sort of joy in attack, then I’d be inclined to think there’ll be circumstances within this one for the yellow card to be dished out to Fabinho.
Onana is set to be given one of the central midfield roles for Everton, in what will be his first ever Merseyside derby. He will be keen to impress his manager to consolidate his place in the team, in doing so I feel he may overstep the line. The Belgian will find himself lined up against some of the elite players in the Premier League in Luis Diaz, Mo Salah, Fabinho, to name a few. Due to the role he is set to play, he will be expected to cover all areas of the pitch and will surely be forced to commit fouls. In the league so far, he has made seven fouls in total and collected one booking in the process. With so much more on the line in this fixture, I believe there’s a great chance he’ll add to his tally of one yellow card.
Another reason for this selection is that I believe he’s a nailed on starter for the home side. He’s been in impressive form since joining and has started the last three games in a row. One of the areas of the field in which Onana may be drawn into is the defensive wide areas of the pitch. Inexperienced full backs Nathan Patterson and Vitaliy Mykolenko are set to start from the off. They will no doubt need back up as they’ll be facing superstars in Salah and Diaz. The Colombian is currently averaging 2.9 successful dribbles per game. We have seen him fouled frequently this season and Onana could well be another one drawn into fouling the often unstoppable winger.
There may be multiple other opportunities for him to be cautioned due to the nature of this game and I’m backing Onana to be carded.
Local lad Anthony Gordon will no doubt be fired up for this game against Liverpool. He has picked up a booking in each of his last three games in the Premier League and with so much at stake here, there’s every chance of another. He was carded in the reverse fixture last season at Anfield, where you could visibly see just how much this particular game means to him. The added spice of this derby match, as well as his personal heritage is something I’ve massively considered here for this selection.
He is set to be given yet another start by Lampard, quite possibly out of the left flank this time, if Maupay is given the nod in attack. In this instance, he will be facing off against fellow scouser – Trent Alexander-Arnold. This adds further incentives in relation to the bet, as he will unquestionably want to get the better of his rival on the day.
So far this season, Gordon has made 10 fouls in total and these numbers are particularly high considering the positions he’s been playing in. This interesting stat adds more fuel to the fire in reference to the bet itself. Not only will he be out on the wing throughout this encounter, but also in central positions too. If caught out of position at points during the game, which I see being very likely, then he may be forced to make tactical fouls. This is something that may also happen if Everton take a surprise lead in this game. If this situation arises, then it is to be expected that numerous home team fouls will be made. Gordon will not be shy of putting his foot down and may well be cautioned by referee Anthony Taylor.
One of the most attacking full backs in the league is Trent Alexander-Arnold. The defender can often be found in extremely advanced positions down the right hand side. He poses serious threats in this sense, although, can allow big open spaces in behind when facing counter attacks from the opposition. This is where I see the potential opportunity for him to get caught out. As I touched on earlier in the piece, Anthony Gordon may be the one he’s up against down his right side. I’m calling this the battle of the scousers, nobody will want to lose this dogfight. With Gordon already successfully dribbling past 7 of his opponents, I see Alexander-Arnold succumbing to his opponent and being carded.
Another reason in my rationale for this pick is that having watched Liverpool face Manchester United, in an extremely high intensity game. I feel this match can follow suit with some much on the line for either side. We saw TAA booked in the game at Old Trafford and I see similarities in this clash, with it of course being a derby match too. Hence, the pick, but much like my Anthony Gordon reasoning, with Trent being a local boy it does mean that bit more than it does to the number of foreign imports in either team.
Goodison Park will be absolutely rocking come Saturday lunch time. It will be one where their opponents Liverpool will not be given a moment’s rest bite by both the Everton players and their fans. The occasion could get to Alexander-Arnold at some point with the game likely to boil over at some stage. So, with all things considered I’m punting on another card for the other local lad!
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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How to watch Everton v Liverpool in the Premier League?
📅 When is Everton v Liverpool? / Saturday, 3rd September 2022, 12:30
🏟 Where is Everton v Liverpool? / Goodison Park (Merseyside)
📺 What TV channel is Everton v Liverpool on? / BT Sport 1
🟨 …And who is the referee for Everton v Liverpool? / A. Taylor 🏴