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The Merseyside Derby: Everton's Best Chance at Anfield Since '99

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The Merseyside Derby is 50/50

Everton make the journey across Stanley Park this Saturday in search of their first win at Anfield this century. Everton's wretched away record against their bitter rivals has spanned nearly 22 years, but this Saturday, they might just have their best opportunity to get one over their neighbours ever since.

Way back in September 1999 was the last time that Everton came away from Anfield with three points as a Kevin Campbell strike separated the teams in a 1-0 win for the Toffees. Walter Smith's Everton were above their neighbours, going into the game in sixth place, with Gerard Houllier's team languishing in 12th. Despite Campbell providing the decisive match-winner for Everton, the match is remembered much more for a fight, three red cards, and Liverpool defender Steve Staunton having a 15-minute stint in goal, so in other words, it was very much a Merseyside derby to the fullest.

We take a look at Everton's last victory at Anfield, why Saturday might be their best chance in years, and what they have to do to get that winning feeling again.

Merseyside Derby Prediction

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Richarlison to score @ 11/2

All the stats are in Everton's favour

Everton have travelled to Anfield over the years knowing they are outright underdogs, and they will be once again on Saturday, but their Merseyside rivals form’ gives the Toffees room for optimism.

Liverpool have unbelievably lost their last three games at Anfield, after going 68 games unbeaten on home turf. Much has been made of Liverpool's two absent defenders, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, but the Reds were performing admirably without them until the turn of the year. Liverpool have won just two in eight Premier League games in 2021 and will have to pick up even just to cement a Champions League spot for next season. 

Despite Everton losing their previous two at home to Manchester City and Fulham, Carlo Ancelotti arguably has their most talented squad in years at his disposal and it’s been their home form that has let them down all season long. The veteran Italian has all the experience to mastermind a win at Anfield and will know his Everton team have their best chance in several seasons to end 22 years of long hurt.

In fact, Everton have not last away from home in the league since losing to Newcastle United back in November and the club have since beaten the likes of Leicester City, Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers on the road and even picked up at point at Old Trafford.

On the other hand, Liverpool have failed to win at Anfield in 2021 after they beat Tottenham Hotspur in December, meaning Everton have picked up 11 from 15 away from home in their last five games, whilst the Reds have picked up just two points from a possible 15 since they beat Spurs.

At the same time, with just goal difference separating them, if Everton win their game in hand, it really is a 50/50 Merseyside derby.

Merseyside Derby Odds

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Everton to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 @ 8/1

How can Everton win at Anfield?

Despite Liverpool being in their worst form in the league in recent memory, Everton will have to do more than conjure up the spirit of 1999 to win at Anfield this Saturday. But how can they achieve victory tactically?

This season, teams that have exploited Liverpool have gained the most success through two methods. Firstly, their high line. The defeats at both Aston Villa and Leicester City illustrate this best, with Ollie Watkins and Jamie Vardy finding a lot of joy in behind the Liverpool back four. The second is utilising a low block, as both Brighton and Burnley used it to a tee in their 1-0 wins at Anfield over the last few weeks.

Ancelotti, on the other hand, has more than enough quality in this Everton team to beat Liverpool at the weekend when fighting toe-to-toe, given the Anfield side’s makeshift defence. Top scorer and goalscorer in the return fixture earlier this season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, should return for the derby in a welcomed boost, as his importance was proven once again in the point won at Old Trafford. But also, his strike partner Richarlison might just be the key to hurting Liverpool this weekend, as he looked significantly better against City in midweek.

The Brazilian has had a troubling season in front of goal this year, but he did bag at Anfield last campaign. Richarlison’s pace and power against an inexperienced centre-back pairing may be a catalyst for Everton to exploit, and no doubt he will be able to outdo Jordan Henderson in this area of the battle.

Everton have also have an array of creative talent in their team with James Rodriguez and Gylfi Sigurdsson, which if they get on the ball, can hurt the Reds in an instant, as proven with two quickfire goals earlier this month in Manchester. If the Toffees can defend resolutely on Saturday, as Ancelotti so often does, their ability to find Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison against that high line, in particular, maybe where they can damage their neighbours.

By Harry Charlwood