Can Everton Genuinely Finish Above Liverpool This Season?

Just how incredible is this climb from Everton?

Extraordinary, right? Liverpool's greatest ever Premier League team and arguably their best of all time is staring in the face of having their bitter rivals finish ahead of them just one season after winning the league title for the first time in 30 years.

An unbelievable 50 points separated the two last season, but with Everton just four points behind right now with two games in hand, the blue of Merseyside can find themselves ahead of the red side very soon.

The rise of Everton under Carlo Ancelotti combined with the fall from Liverpool has pretty much been football this season in a nutshell and we take a look at the genuine possibility of Everton finally finishing above their local rivals.

Can Everton Finish Higher Than Liverpool?

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Whilst this is Liverpool's greatest ever Premier League side, it's also Everton's

The Toffees looked in serious danger in December 2019 when they were embroiled in a relegation battle under Marco Silva’s leadership, which eventually led to his sacking. However, one man would arrive and change it all: Ancelotti. Any team that is being managed by the Italian is more than likely going to be challenging at the upper ends of the table rather than the bottom.

Once Ancelotti came in, only Manchester City and Liverpool could match Everton’s form up until March and there were even outside ambitions of a Europa League spot, but very inconsistent form after the return of football in the summer put those hopes to bed, whilst the damage done under Silva was a little too severe.

After evaluating the squad for six months, the Italian knew what he needed, and the club used the pull of Ancelotti to attract James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, Allan from Napoli, Abdoulaye Doucoure from Watford and Ben Godfrey from Norwich City, all of which could argue a case for playing Champions League football.

A lot of that has been thanks to the imperious scoring form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the creative ability of Rodriguez, with the England forward already matching his best goal tally for a season by January, and the Colombian being fifth in the league for big chances created despite missing a third of the season with an injury.

However, after defeats to Newcastle United, Southampton and Manchester United, Ancelotti diverted away from attacking flair and worked on defensive solidity, which in turn led to Everton recording wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City, with all three performances looking like a carbon copy of the top Italian clubs from the 1980s and 1990s.

Now, only four sides in the Premier League have conceded fewer goals than Everton, making it their best defensive display at this point in a season since 2005 and it is certainly going to better their 56 conceded last season, whilst their 25 let in so far is the same as Liverpool's.

Up top, Calvert-Lewin still has 13 goals left to bag this season if he is to catch Romelu Lukaku's club best record in a season of 25 in the league, but only Mohamed Salah has more goals than him to this point in the Premier League.

Simply put, there isn't much separating defensively due to Liverpool's injuries and in the attacking sense, unless Mane hits some form, Everton will continue to close the gap in Merseyside.

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Liverpool becoming a carbon copy of that sensational Dortmund side

There is no doubt that Liverpool have got one of the most talented and hard-working squads in world football, but in their fifth full season under Jurgen Klopp, there was always a possibility that the wheels would come loose, and some of the players cannot continue to produce the same high-performance levels they have shown in an illustrious spell in the club’s history.

Now, after back-to-back defeats at Anfield for the first time in nearly a decade after not losing their for almost four years prior to the Burnley loss a few weeks back, it's clear that ruthless edge is missing and it's looking very, very hard to find right now.

During Klopp’s spell at Borussia Dortmund, the club enjoyed the highs of two Bundesliga titles and a Champions League final, but once that successful cycle was over, the side struggled severely, and they even spent a few weeks at the bottom of the Bundesliga in December 2014. They went on to finish seventh, but Klopp stepped down and joined Liverpool a year later as it was pretty clear his heyday with the German giants was over.

Similar traits are appearing in the current Liverpool side, Klopp lost Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze at Dortmund - his two main talismanic figures - and now with Liverpool, he has lost Virgil van Dijk to a season-ending injury his best attacker from last season, Sadio Mane, is completely out of form. Similarly to Dortmund back then, Klopp's team failed to score a single league goal from late-December to late-January, the same period in the season when his Dortmund team were at the lowest in 2014/15. Coincidence? Likely not.

Liverpool have signed Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak this January to help fill the massive gap left from the brutal injuries in defence. However, Davies has spent all his career throughout League One, League Two and the Championship and is probably amazed Klopp even wanted him. At the same time, Kabak has spent the last year at Schalke who had conceded 49 goals in 18 games prior to the move and won just one Bundesliga game in a year.

Everton can make history and it's their own hands

If history is anything to go by, then Liverpool will not even consider Everton to be a rival in their respective objectives this season. However, the club are now seven points behind leaders City, with the potential for that to be 10 at the end of this week with a further game in hand for Pep Guardiola's men. And, if that is to be the case, attention will switch to battling the top four and not for the title for the Reds.

They amassed 50 points more than their Merseyside rivals last season, and it would be a footballing miracle if that sort of deficit is slashed completely in the space of 12 months, so there are no two ways about it: the race is on over in Merseyside.

Paper does not win football matches, but a team with Salah, Mane, Thiago and Alisson is more than likely going to finish above a side like Everton and I don't think Toffees fans will argue much against that. Even in Klopp’s turbulent season at Dortmund, they turned their fortunes around and recorded a very strong finish to the season.

However, with the potential to get the club above Liverpool by two points if they win their two games in hand, Everton could make their own history and upset Liverpool's greatest ever Premier League team within 12 months of them actually lifting the title.

Football in 2020/21, 'ey...

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