Who: Everton vs Liverpool
When: Saturday, October 17th @ 07:30am ET
Line: Everton +290 | Draw +295 | Liverpool -117
The international break couldn’t have been better placed for Liverpool.
Coming off a historic paddling by Aston Villa, Jurgen Klopp needed some time to assess the damage and make fixes.
Chief among those fixes is tightening up an arrogant and porous backline. Virgil van Dijk has not been the unmovable mountain he was pre-Premier League title. Trent Alexander-Arnold has yet to find his form. Center-back 2 has been shaky.
The Reds travel about .6 miles to Goodison Park to face league leaders (!!!) Everton. VVD and crew need to get their collective act together. Everton is for real. Finally, a Merseyside Derby with real stakes again.
Everton vs Liverpool matchday 5 preview
That Liverpool backline has no margin for error this match. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (and his 1.16 xG/90), James Rodriguez and Richarlson will carve them up. Moreso, this isn’t a squad that fears the Reds. They’re sick of getting dumped on as the red-headed step-child of Liverpool.
Good news for Liverpool: key contributors Sadio Mane and Thiago should be available after a bout with COVID. Also from purely a line-up setting perspective, The Looks Great in Training Naby Keita will not be available for selection, so Klopp won’t have a weak link in the midfield.
With Mane back, Mo Salah the Golden Boot favorite, and Roberto Firmino having a solid showing during the international break, scoring won’t be an issue. Liverpool are tied for third most goals in the Premier League this season with 11. Problem is, Everton are tied for the most with 12.
The injured Alisson can cover up a lot of the backline’s deficiencies. Adrian can too, but only in spurts. He’s equally capable of a bonehead error as a brilliant save. The key against Adrian is taking as many shots as possible. At some point, he’ll have a brainfart.
A few keys to this one:
- Assuming Klopp starts Thiago, how much will he bottle up an in-form James Rodriguez?
- Can either Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum simply grind Calvert-Lewin down and limit his chances?
- Richarlison isn’t afraid of VVD. Will VVD get his head out of his ass and shut Richarlison down?
The oddsmakers listing Liverpool as odds-on favorites was surprising. The fact public money is leaning towards Everton is not. But those two factors are good indicators that Liverpool are the likely winners. Expect a 2-1 gutty win similar to those tight matches the Reds kept pulling out last season.