It is derby weekend in the Premier League and attention will turn to the Merseyside derby as high flying Everton host defending champion Liverpool.
It is definitely a top of the table clash following Everton’s brilliant start to the season where they uncharacteristically sit top of the Premier League log with 12 points owing to 4 wins from 4 games. Liverpool on the other hand have had just a barely good start to the season with 9 points from 4 games but received a rude shock at the Villa Park when Aston Villa put them to the sword by 7 goals to 2.
Liverpool have bossed the Merseyside derby in recent years, in the last 10 years, both sides have met 22 times in the Premier League with Liverpool winning 11 times, recording draw 10 times and Everton winning just once. There is no better time to change the course of history than now. Everton are riding high on confidence owing to the brilliant start to season. Everton will believe strongly that they can compound Liverpool’s misery; they have form on their side, momentum going for them and a slice of good fortune to cap it all up.
Everton in their first 4 games of the season have shown that they can grind out results as they did at White Hart Lane on matchday 1 and they have been fortunate that their signings have hit the ground running. In Calvert Lewin, they have an in-form striker and in James Rodriguez, they have an attacking midfielder that has been scoring and creating goals. A winning run of 5 games in all competitions have handed the Toffees a momentum that might be difficult to stop. This run has given them the much needed confidence to alter the status quo today.
It has even got better for the Blue Merseysiders owing to a slice of good fortune they have received thanks to the absence of some key Liverpool players. Going into this game, Liverpool are set to be without first choice goalkeeper, Allison Becker through injuries and star forward Sadio Mane who is still out owing to the coronavirus.
One thing Liverpool’s last 2 losses (against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup and Aston Villa in the Premier League) have in common is the absence of both players. Everton’s chances of winning this derby is brightened if Adrian is in goal. Facts have shown that Liverpool’s attack is not at its’ lethal best without Mane. As things stand now, Liverpool will have to do without both stars for the Merseyside derby. If this is not slice of good fortune for Everton, I wonder what is? Seems nature is aiding and abetting Everton’s push for a status quo change.
For Liverpool, they cannot afford to lose this game especially after the humiliating loss against Aston Villa on the last matchday. This season, the Reds have been far from convincing in the league. Against returnees, Leeds United, it was a late winner, against Arsenal, it was errors coupled with poor officiating and against Aston Villa, it was total capitulation. If they are to stand any chance against high flying Everton, they have to do better. Derby is more about form but much more about pride.
It is just matchday 5 in the Premier League race of 38 matches and definitely too early to win or lose the title but it is a good time to show intention.