Paul Merson believes Everton’s tactics will play right into Liverpool’s hands in Merseyside derby
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Paul Merson believes that Liverpool are the favourites for the derby and that Everton’s tactics will play right into their hands. However. The Reds will need to produce a far better performance than last week, as they were easily swept aside by Wolverhampton Wanderes in a crushing 3-0 defeat.
They have now conceded three goals in three successive away league games for the first time since November and December 1993. That unwanted statistic demonstrates the issues in the team right now and this season they simply haven’t hit the standard we have seen over recent years.
Meanwhile, relegation-threatend Everton tore up the form book to earn an important three points at home against league leaders Arsenal in Sean Dyche’s first game in charge. They head into the derby confident they can earn a rare victory at Anfield.
Writing for Sportskeeda, Merson favoured a win for Liverpool as he believes Everton’s style of play under their new manager will suit Jurgen Klopp’s side. He believes they’ll see plenty of the ball and that will give the home team the chance to dominate the game.
“This is a good game for Liverpool. It’s the Merseyside derby, and the fans will be up for it. Everton will sit back and absorb the pressure. They’re going to work on getting a goal from a set piece. They’ll have ten men behind the ball and one up front.
“I think Liverpool need a calm head with composure and experience. Fabinho hasn’t had the greatest of seasons in the Premier League, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back for this game alongside Thiago and Jordan Henderson. They’ve got experience, and you need seasoned players in a Merseyside derby.
“Liverpool’s defence has been all over the place this season, but Everton aren’t going to have much of a go at them. Liverpool will have to defend their set pieces because that’s what Everton will live on. I’d be shocked if Liverpool fail to win this game.”
Form is never is a prerequisite for picking a winner in a local derby, as the atmosphere and feel of a game between two city rivals often elevates the spectacle and demands a different type of concentration and motivation.
It could be exactly what Liverpool need to bounce back and enjoy a repeat of last season’s 2-0 victory at Anfield. The Reds are boosted by the news that several key players have returned to full training from injury.
What makes this game interesting is that both sides are in far different circumstances to when they met in September: Liverpool have regressed whilst Everton have rediscovered their belief.