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Previewing the Mersey derby as Liverpool take on Everton

A preview ahead of this weekend’s Merseyside derby as Liverpool entertain Everton at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Anfield Kop

Spread: Liverpool -1 ½

Moneyline: Everton +950, Liverpool -360, Draw +450

Total: 3 goals

Earlier this week, we learned that Liverpool will face rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup in early January. While it’s always fun to have derby rivals squaring off in cup matches, we’ll get our first taste of the 2017-18 Merseyside Derby this weekend when the Reds host the Toffees at Anfield on Sunday.

There is no shortage of ways to place bets if you’re a bettor these days. You may place real money bets from your mobile device, or from the comfort of your home computer or you can do it the old fashioned way at a land-based betting shop. Regardless of your preferred means of placing a wager, if you’ve followed English football at all this season you’ll know that it’s been a nightmare campaign for Everton.

The Toffees lost star man Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United over the summer, and they have struggled to replace the big Belgian striker. Everton have mustered just 18 points through their first 15 Premier League matches. The sluggish start resulted in the dismissal of manager Ronald Koeman in October, and he was replaced on a permanent basis by relegation rescuer extraordinaire Sam Allardyce.

Everton had won just three games all season before Allardyce was hired, but his side have picked up back-to-back league wins since his appointment. Everton picked up an impressive 4-0 victory over a struggling West Ham side in their first match, and last week the Toffees disposed of Huddersfield Town by a 2-0 margin.

Despite the struggles and early-season misery, Everton aren’t in a bad position at all. They sit 10th in the Premier League entering Matchday 16, and a top-10 finish would be highly impressive considering the sloppy start. Barring an epic collapse, Everton should be clear of the relegation zone for the remainder of the season. It certainly helps that there appear to be an awful lot of terrible sides in England’s top flight this season.

Sunday brings Allardyce’s toughest test yet, of course. Recording a third consecutive clean sheet will be a tall order at Anfield against a Liverpool side that are currently in fine form. The Reds thrashed Stoke City 3-0 two weeks back before trouncing Brighton 5-1 at Falmer Stadium last weekend.

The Reds booked their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow in midweek but the game came at a cost as Alberto Moreno picked up an ankle injury. Joel Matip will miss the next several weeks with a muscle injury but Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan are back in contention.

Klopp deployed a back-three against Brighton and it worked out well enough for Liverpool, so it’ll be interesting to see if he goes with the same back-three formation in the derby.

This is a series that has been dominated by Liverpool in recent years. In fact, Everton haven’t come out on the winning end of a Merseyside Derby since a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park back in October of 2017. That’s a 13-match unbeaten run for Liverpool that includes seven wins. The Reds have won three straight overall against Everton, which included a 4-1 cumulative head-to-head score in the league last season.

While Everton look improved under Allardyce, it’s tough to fathom the Toffees earning a result on Sunday at Anfield. The Reds are in flying form, and this looks to be an easy victory for Liverpool on paper. Smart bettors will take Klopp’s side at home in this one.

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