03 December 2019 15:49
The latest installment of the Merseyside derby arrives on Sunday in the Premier League as first-place Liverpool visits ninth-place Everton on the 29th matchday. The Reds are 21-6-1 with 69 points, two points behind Manchester City, who already played on Saturday. Premier League: Liverpool vs. fuboTV (Try for free) Odds: Liverpool -165 / Everton +450 / Draw +300 They can start pushing for seventh place with a victory, but losing here will likely see them fall into the bottom half of the table. The Reds get another Sadio Mane goal and kill the match off in the second half to stay top of the table.
If you haven't had your fill of Merseyside Derbies for one week we're about to do it all again as the ECHO crosses Stanley Park from Goodison to Anfield for a Premier League 2 clash. The roles are reversed as this time it's Everton who are chasing the title with David Unsworth's side currently in top spot while Neil Critchley's Liverpool are in mid-table - sitting fifth in the 12-team division. With 10 league games left to play, it could not be more finely balanced. Last weekend, it was Liverpool stuttering after a battling scoreless draw against Manchester United, while City snuffed out Chelsea the previous week. Then we wake up Thursday morning, and it is Pep Guardiola's side making hard work of mid-table West Ham while the Reds found their mojo again to thrash Watford and halving a once impossible goal difference The Goodison crowd will be baying for blood and sticking a dagger into the Red half of the City would be more satisfying than a Game of Thrones decapitation.
At the time of writing, there are nine points separating the two teams — but given this season's results, that could have dramatically changed by the time this game comes around. Sounds impossible — but, it just so happens, Spurs have the best away record in the competition, with 33 points from a possible 45 on the road. And five days after Spurs, City must travel across town to face Manchester United. Old Trafford holds little fear for the Sky Blue side of Manchester these days but with the end of the season in sight, who knows how this ding-dong derby could finish. Liverpool end the season with Huddersfield (probably already relegated by then) at home, Newcastle (safe from relegation and with a more-than-friendly manager) away, and finish against Wolves at Anfield.
After all their hard work last week, and the way they raised their game, if the Toffees went to St James' Park and got run over, then I would be seriously worried.' The bottom line is that despite being undermined by Mike Ashley when it comes to the transfer market, Rafa and his team would be only three points behind Everton if they win on Saturday. In the three years Rafa Benitez has been at Newcastle, Everton have had five different managers, including David Unsworth who spent five weeks as caretaker in 2017. As it happens, Mark Lawrenson is predicting Marco Silva and his team don't get 'run over' and predicts a 2-1 away win. Though his BBC Sport guests, chef Tom Kerridge and 'The Beast' – aka Wycombe striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, both go for Newcastle to win. The first 18 times Newcastle hosted Everton in the Premier League, the scousers only won two. However, the last seven fixtures have included five away wins, as Newcastle have found inventive ways to lose to Everton, on four occasions by the odd goal. If Newcastle can win on Saturday, it will be the first time in 16 years that they have win five Premier League home games in a row, I bet you didn't see that one coming. "Newcastle lost at West Ham last week, but only really went for it in the second half when they were already 2-0 down, and looked a different team. "I am not sure what the Magpies' approach will be like this time but I think what happens in this game is far more significant for Everton manager Marco Silva. "After all their hard work last week, and the way they raised their game, if the Toffees went to St James' Park and got run over, then I would be seriously worried. Also making predictions for BBC Sport this week are chef Tom Kerridge and 'The Beast' – aka Wycombe striker Adebayo Akinfenwa: "With Everton, it is always up in the air as to how well they will play, so I am going to go for a Newcastle win. "I am surprised that you and I are thinking the same, but I don't see there being many goals in this game. Abdoulaye Doucoure is set to return for Watford when they welcome former manager Marco Silva back to Vicarage Road on Saturday. Midfielder Doucoure has missed the last four games due to a knee problem, but should be available to face Silva's Everton. The Portuguese managed the Hornets for the first half of the 2017/18 season before he was sacked in January 2018, with Watford claiming Everton made an illegal approach that unsettled Silva. Asked what reception he expects Silva to get on his first return to Vicarage Road, current Hornets boss Javi Gracia said: "I don't know. After a positive start to the season, Silva has struggled at Everton recently, with four defeats in the last five matches in all competitions. Watford will be looking for their first Premier League win since January 12. The Hornets are one place and one point above Everton in the table, although they do also have a game in hand. Gracia has said he thinks Doucoure will be ready for the fixture after the midfielder returned to training this week. After losing their first two home Premier League games against Everton, Watford are unbeaten in three, winning the last two in a row. Everton have lost just two of their 11 Premier League meetings with Watford (both at Vicarage Road), winning six of those clashes (D3). In the top-flight, Watford have only lost more home games against Liverpool and Manchester United (7 each) than they have vs Everton (5). Watford have won their last two home Premier League games against Everton - they've never won three in a row against an opponent at Vicarage Road in the competition. Watford have picked up just one win in their last seven Premier League games (D4 L2), winning 2-1 at Crystal Palace in January. Two of Watford's last three Premier League games have finished 0-0 - as many goalless draws as they'd had in their previous 57 games in the competition. After picking up 9/9 points from their opening three home league games this season, Watford have picked up just 8/27 in their subsequent nine (W2 D2 L5). Everton are looking to win consecutive away league games for the first time since September 2016. Five of Watford's 16 home league goals this season have been scored by Roberto Pereyra (31%), though the Argentine has only scored in one of his last six at Vicarage Road. This will be Marco Silva's first game at Vicarage Road as a visiting manager in the Premier League - he won just three of his 12 home games as Watford manager in the competition (D4 L5). I fancy Watford here, I do not see Everton winning this game, I think there is trouble there at the moment. Everton conceded from a set play against Man City again on Wednesday night and Watford are a big team, so I see them being too strong here. Watford vs Everton is a Super 6 game