Liverpool take on Everton in the Premier League on Saturday in a 5:30pm kick-off at Anfield.
After the controversy of the 2-2 draw in October, this promises to be one of the feistiest Merseyside Derby in recent years, with Jurgen Klopp’s side hell-bent on revenge after the nasty injuries inflicted on Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara in that game.
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The two sides come into this meeting three points apart in sixth and seventh respectively, albeit the Toffees do have a game in hand, so need a win to improve their chances of finishing in the top four.
The Reds are odds-on 4/9 favourites to win the match, with the draw 7/2 and an Everton win 6/1.
Personally, while they are obviously rightful favourites, I think Klopp’s side look a bit skinny at that price.
They have failed to win their last five league games at Anfield, with Everton unbeaten in their last seven league games on the road.
Liverpool have looked improved in recent matches, though, dominating the vast majority of their games against Leicester and Leipzig with differing outcomes.
I’ll leave the match result market alone, then, and look towards cards instead in what should be a tasty affair.
Chris Kavanagh officiates the clash, with the 36-year-old averaging 3.07 yellow cards per game in the PL this season. Not great, not bad in other words.
One trend which does concern me a little is that Kavanagh has shown fewer than four cards in eight of his last nine PL games, but he did show three to Aston Villa and two to Arsenal in his last game.
Moreover, I just think there’ll be too much aggression and testosterone on display for there not to be cards at some point during this game.
Everton are the fourth dirtiest team in the league, receiving at least one card in their last 12 PL games, with Liverpool receiving at least one in eight of their last nine.
I’ll back Over 0 Cards for each team and Over 2 Cards for Both Teams Combined, then.
With Liverpool expected to dominate possession, I’ll also back Over 3 Corners for Liverpool. They have hit this mark in 12 of their last 13 PL games, with Everton’s opponents also hitting this mark in 12 of their last 13.
Lastly, I’ll back Liverpool to score to bring us above evens. Despite Everton’s impressive away record, they have only kept three clean sheets in 11 away games this season, and none at all in eight league games overall since the turn of the year:
Over 0 Cards for Liverpool, Over 0 Cards for Everton, Over 2 Cards for Both Teams Combined, Over 0 Goals for Liverpool, Over 3 Corners for Liverpool @ 21/20 (Bet365).
If you’re looking for a bigger price, Over 0 Goals for Liverpool, 2+ cards for each team, 4+ corners for Liverpool and Under 5 Corners for Everton is 4/1.
In terms of player cards, it’s difficult to know where to start, but if Mason Holgate starts at right-back for Everton then he simply has to be backed at 4/1 (bet365).
Holgate has received four cards in 13 PL games this season, with Sadio Mané by far Liverpool’s most fouled player down their left flank.
Carlo Ancelotti could opt to use a back five, but either way I’d expect Holgate to be the man closest to Mané on most occasions, as was the case with the cautioned Nordi Mukiele for Leipzig in midweek.
Allan could make his first start for Everton since mid-December, with him and midfield partner Abdoulaye Doucoure both worth considering at 11/4 (Betway and Bet Victor respectively).
Fabinho and James Milner are likely to remain unavailable for the Reds due to injury, meanwhile, but Ozan Kabak has been booked in both of his starts for Liverpool, so him and Thiago both appeal at 7/2 (Betfair).
Richarlison was sent off in the reverse fixture, so I’m surprised to see him at 7/2 (Betfair). In that reverse fixture I successfully backed him and Sadio Mané to be booked as a double, with the feisty forwards very attractively priced once again as a 33/1 double (Betfair).
I also backed Mohamed Salah and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score on top as a 100/1+ winner in that game. Backing Salah to score and DCL to have 1+ shot on target provides a lovely 100/1 shot once again.
One outside shout I may have half an eye on is Georginio Wijnaldum to be carded at 7/1 (Sky Bet).Wijnaldum isn’t a player I ever back in the cards market but as Liverpool’s deepest midfielder he is more prone to tactical fouling, and was particuarly vocal about Everton’s antics in the reverse fixture, accusing them of being “completely stupid” and “taking it too far”.
In what could be his last ever Merseyside derby, the Holland midfielder could be ultra pumped.
Away from cards, Thiago and Holgate are both odds-against to land 3+ and 4+ tackles respectively (Sky Bet) which appeals.