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Liverpool vs Everton Preview: Can Everton Close Gap To Top Four?

Liverpool vs Everton Photo credit to thohry via Flickr

Premier League

Liverpool vs Everton

Liverpool, England – Liverpool face local rivals Everton at Anfield on Saturday in a highly anticipated clash. The Reds are unbeaten in three and have won their last three home fixtures. This run has left them in fourth place, five points clear of fifth placed Manchester United.

Everton meanwhile have won three of their last four Premier League games. This has seen Ronald Koeman’s side consolidate seventh position and close the gap to the teams above them. They will be hoping to claim a win for right back Seamus Coleman. The defender suffered a horrific leg injury while on International duty for the Republic of Ireland.

Liverool vs Everton: Last Time They Met

Jurgen Klopp’s first visit to Goodison Park in late December was settled by £34 million summer signing Sadio Mane’s stoppage time winner. The goal proved to be the highlight in an otherwise cagey contest. The victory saw them climb to second place and move to within six points of league leaders Chelsea. Everton were 14 points below their Merseyside rivals and 11 points of fourth placed Arsenal following the defeat. The result meant the Toffees have not beaten their rivals since a 2-0 victory in 2010. Roy Hodgson was them man in charge of the Reds that day.

Liverpool vs Everton: How have they fared since then?  

Liverpool have fallen out of the title race in the second half of the season. Since January they have lost six games in all competitions. This run has seen them slip from second to fourth and out of the domestic cup competitions. Chelsea have marched away from the chasing pack in that period. Liverpool are a massive 13 points adrift of the league leaders having played a game more. In the same period Koeman’s side have lost only once in the league, when Tottenham Hotspur beat Everton 3-2 at home. Striker Romelu Lukaku has been in excellent goal scoring form in this run. The Belgian has scored a league high 21 goals so far this season. This has seen them close the gap on the top four and Liverpool to just six points. With nine games to play they have a genuine chance to claim a European place.

Verdict:

So can the blue half of Merseyside end their long wait for a derby success? Can they close in even further on the top four? A lot will depend on if they are able to get star men Ross Barkley and Lukaku into dangerous positions in the attacking third. The Toffees will also need to maintain their solid defensive record in 2017. Liverpool will need to be at their best to avoid defeat if Everton achieve this.

However, Klopp’s Liverpool are almost faultless in games against the top teams in the league since his arrival last season. Reds supporters will hope that they can continue this record against their nearest rivals. A win would cement their place in the top four. It would also all but end Everton’s hopes of achieving a Champions League place. It looks like that Liverpool vs Everton will be one of the most important games between now and the end of the season.