Tonight's Merseyside Derby is probably one of the least malicious local Derbies in Britain in terms of fanfare and atmosphere. You won't see anywhere near the levels of hate that comes with Rangers v Celtic, United v Leeds, Chelsea v West Ham, Brighton v Palace etc etc. Opposition fans mix with each other, there's less psychological warfare in the media (but perpetuated by managerial press conferences) and as a result, whilst the atmosphere at Goodison will be raucous, it isn't one of hatred that will cause any kind of nervous feeling amongst the Liverpool team.
The reasons why Liverpool might not adhere to their odds-on superiority in this game are footballing ones. Liverpool have a significantly worse win percentage without Countinho. Further, Firmino's influence on games is diminished when Countinho doesn't play due to Firmino now becoming more of a focus for the opposition manager's defensive strategy. Origi will keep his place up top in an unchanged team, but doesn't inspire enough confidence to be backed to score anytime for me personally at odds of 2.8 (9/5). I would personally favour Lukaku AGS at 3.0 (2/1)
Everton are poor at the back as highlighted in my write up of Everton v Arsenal. However, they will be buoyed by a resolute display last time out. This is the sort of game I would have expect Jagielka to put in an increasingly rare good performance. His suspension means Funes Mori will partner Williams at centre half and Everton will be weaker today because of it.
In regards to Liverpool's defence, Matip was poor in his comeback game against West Ham, making a mistake that led to a goal. Perhaps he was not fully fit and there are he hasn't passed a fitness test for this game. My contact on the ground said he was not seen arriving into their hotel after training today at 1pm. Emre Can was however.
Whilst a 0-0 can't be completely ruled out, both teams have scored in 80% of their lat 20 respective home and away matches. The last 4 Merseyside derbies at Goodison Park have all ended in draws, with one of those being a scoreless draw.
Everton are unbeaten at home (4-4-0) versus Liverpool's 5-2-2 away record. However, you can't place too much emphasis on Liverpool's travelling win ratio due to the geographical proximity of Goodison Park to Anfield and Melwood Park (their training ground). Further, slightly more so than other derbies, statistic prove that previous form doesn't correlate highly to said result on the day in this match.
Both teams to score and a draw at 4.75(15/4) is a bet I really like. However, for even more value, I do like the 0-0 and 1-1 correct score options.
The safer option is Everton double chance at 2.10 (11/10) or a draw at 3.75 (11/4).
Personally I'm backing only the 2 bets below. I'm hoping they will at least give me a run for my money despite the ignorable fact that Liverpool have a better team and better manager. Wisely Koeman has opted for mobility in midfield with McCarthy retaining his place instead of Barry, to allow for a higher number of yards to be covered in the game to press Liverpool's first touch and space more, rather than only covering areas by 'protective positioning' in relation to their own centre halves.
0.5 points on Everton v Liverpool to be 1-1 @7.5 (13/2) (WillHill,PaddyPower,Betstars)
0.5 points on Everton v Liverpool to be 2-2 @15.0 (14/1) (WillHill, 365)