Set to be dumped out of the Europa League no matter how things go in Cyprus later this evening, Everton’s shorter than expected foray on the continent stings quite enough without the success of their closest neighbors adding salt to already seeping wounds. Through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League after peppering Spartak Moscow to claim top spot in their group, Liverpool have not only set themselves up to play top-class European football in the New Year, they’ve also cemented their status as favorites to come out on top against the Toffees when the two sides meet at Anfield on Sunday.
Everton’s disastrous start to campaign has started to wane having now won three of their past five league matches, but they remain big underdogs (+950) against the fourth-place Reds (-360) this weekend according to most betting sites reviewed on sportsbettingdime.com. It’s only a short trip across Stanley Park, but that’s more than a world away for Sam Allardyce’s side — without a win on the road, they’ll have to try to topple a Liverpool side that are undefeated at Anfield and scoring goals for fun.
“We are not afraid of any team. The performance was very good, if you win 7-0 it has to be good, we played brilliant up-front,” enthused Reds midfielder Emre Can, speaking to the press following the win over Spartak. “We started really well – we scored the goal – we played brilliant in the second half, it was a very good performance,” said the German, looking ahead to the weekend. “Everybody is excited about Everton, we are really looking forward to it, we will do everything to win that game.”
Riding a six match unbeaten streak in which they’ve scored 19 goals, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to keep pace at the top of the table. Having jumped in to a Champions League place for the first time since the early days of the campaign after putting five past Brighton and Hove Albion last Saturday, the Reds won’t have any pity for their neighbors despite the fact that they’re hovering just above the relegation zone.
Though the Anfield outfit are something to behold when they’re in full flow, their Achilles’ heel is well-known — if the Toffees want to win, they’re going to have to score. Forever porous, Klopp’s side continue to struggle at the back and their defensive woes will only be compounded if Alberto Moreno — who picked up a knock against the Russians — misses out on Sunday.
“It could be something serious but he was a little more positive in the treatment room, so maybe we will be lucky,” mused the German manager. “We need all the boys for the next few weeks and especially for Sunday,” stressed Klopp. “We showed tonight we learned from the mistake we made in Seville. Now we must show we learned from the mistake we made after Maribor when we faced Tottenham [and lost 4-1].”