The Merseyside Derby won't live up to the hype
Jurgen Klopp’s reigning Premier League champions travel to noisy neighbours and in form Everton for the first Merseyside derby of 2020/21. Possibly the most eagerly anticipated game of the season so far with the Toffees top of the tree, the only side to win all four of their opening games. Aston Villa join Everton as the only two sides with a 100% record thus far and they enhanced their reputation massively after narrowly surviving the drop last term by thrashing Liverpool 7-2 in the last gameweek. The result has been left to linger over the international break, seeing a lot of questions asked of the Reds particularly defensively. Klopp’s men are odds on to get the win in defiance of the last outing, there is no value there.
This match will be played exactly 10 years since Everton’s last Merseyside derby victory, coming on a day when Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill were the goalscorers. The Toffees last five games have seen both teams get on the scoresheet and over 2.5 goals, however in contrast the last six identical head-to-heads have brought under 2.5 goals.
Coming of age
To say that Dominic Calvert-Lewin has hit the ground running this campaign would be a huge understatement, not only has he torn up the Premier League and League Cup, but the former Northampton Town loanee bagged a debut goal for England too, adding some gloss on the best patch of his career. The 23-year-old established himself in the Everton first team last season, notching 15 goals in 41 appearances, the creative midfield reinforcements in the side have had an immensely positive impact on his goalscoring form so far. DCL has nine goals from just six outings in 2020/21 putting him joint top of the scoring charts with Tottenham Hotpsur’s Son Heung-Min.
This match is being billed as a thriller, the poster match of the season so far. Both teams have been leaky at the back and extremely potent in front of goal so far. To be a party pooper, I just cannot see it living up to it. A derby is always a leveler and Liverpool will have been mortified with the way they defended at Villa Park; the style will be a lot more rigid than that match. With five of the last six meetings at Goodison Park having under 1.5 goals, and the Reds prioritising defensive solidarity, a cagey encounter is in the pipeline.
Expect a low scoring game with possibly one side edging it by a 1-0 scoreline.