Liverpool and Everton to battle out a stalemate in the Merseyside derby

3May 2013

England - Premier League


Luke Moore considers the Merseyside derby, which may be David Moyes' last as Everton boss, and thinks a draw is the most likely outcome...


On the face of it, the second and final Merseyside derby of the season looks to have little riding on it other than local interest and one-upmanship. Both teams are  unlikely to make Europe this season; Everton have a sniff of a chance but will need results to go their way, and Liverpool, despite making improvements under Brendan  Rodgers this year (already two points better off than last season with three games left) have still proven to be too inconsistent to challenge the upper echelons of  the division.


The game does come at a time in which both managers are at opposite ends of their careers at their respective clubs however. The impressive, consistently over- achieving David Moyes looks certain to be nearing the end of his 11 year tenure at the Toffees while his opposite number in the Liverpool dugout is merely traversing  the first few metres of his hoped-for summit at one of the country's most prestigious clubs.


Moyes' place in Everton fans' hearts is assured, and although he hasn't lifted a trophy at Goodison Park he has overseen a period of pretty consistent relative success  when compared to the budget he's been handed and the budgets of the teams around him. In the last six seasons, Everton have never finished lower than eighth and in  2005 the Toffeemen finished in fourth and enjoyed Champions League football for the qualifying round at least.


Whether Rodgers can replicate something approaching success for Liverpool is a more complicated conversation because it's not completely clear what would be considered  success for his tenure at the club. Would the fans be happy with a finish back in the top four or do they hark all the way back to an era which saw them dominate the  game both at home and abroad, something that only exists in the memories of fans that are now approaching their forties? Either way, the manager knows that a win over  the team from across Stanley Park will cement him even further in the favour of Liverpool fans who are genuinely showing patience with a man and a philosophy.


The game at Goodison Park ended in a 2-2 draw after Liverpool stormed to an early 0-2 lead and is remembered more clearly for the Luis Suarez celebration than the game  itself as the now-banned Uruguayan dived in front of David Moyes in reference to earlier, entirely fair, comments the Scotsman had made about his propensity to throw  himself to the ground at every opportunity.


Suarez won't have the opportunity to torment Moyes or Everton any further this Sunday, but Liverpool were absolutely irresistible without him against a faltering  Newcastle side and will be brimming with confidence going into the derby. His absence may in fact prove to be a blessing to the Reds: they looked a far more coherent  attacking unit without him at St James's Park and it appeared to give the other forwards a lot more room to breathe and link up without the tricky Uruguayan's tendency  to over-dribble and needlessly complicate a threatening surge towards the opposition goal.


That's not to say Suarez isn't a potent attacking threat, he's obviously among the most dangerous strikers in Europe, but one of Rodgers' most encouraging achievements  in the second half of the season has surely been to instantly convince his side that they can not only function without him, but win and win well. After all, being  without him is something they may well have to get used to in the future.


Although Everton's season is in danger of petering out without much to show for their efforts, they've not shown much sign of letting up having lost just two league  games since the middle of February. They have proved they can beat the very best on their day as the convincing victory in March over a still title-chasing Man City  showed, and Liverpool will need to be at their peak to emerge with three points. Everton are the opposite of Newcastle: a solid, defensively sound, confident unit.


This game has all the hallmarks of another stalemate. As the league table shows, they're pretty evenly matched. A draw of 1-1 (7.4) or 2-2 (14.0) is  what I'll have my money on. If you're not feeling quite that brave, the draw in the Match Odds market is fairly priced at 3.7.


Recommended Bets

Back 1-1 and 2-2 in the Correct Score market at 7.4 and 14.0 respectively



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Keywords: Liverpool, Everton, Merseyside derby

Source: Betfair

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