The Toffees are marginally ahead in the fight for supremacy in Liverpool, and Al Hain-Cole expects them to successfully navigate a difficult fixture list and maintain top billing
The Merseyside rivalry has become much more evenly contested in recent years, and this season there are more than mere bragging rights at stake.
Both Liverpool and Everton are heavily involved in the fight for a top five place, and know that finishing above their neighbours would give them a realistic chance of playing in Europe next season.
The advantage is currently with David Moyes’ men, who sit three points clear of their local rivals in sixth place, with a game in hand.
Despite this potential six-point cushion, currently has both clubs tied neck and neck at 5/6 (1.83) apiece to finish as the top team on Merseyside, which is surely a tempting price for the Goodison faithful.
The Toffees bounced back from a recent wobble, including a demoralising FA Cup exit at the hands of Wigan, to claim a fantastic 2-0 win over champions Manchester City, and this result should give them confidence to finish the season strongly.
That win did not come without a price though, as Steven Pienaar’s red card and Marouane Fellaini’s booking earned each of them a two-match suspension, thus denying Everton of two key players for tricky games against Stoke and Tottenham.
Poor results in those two matches could see their lead over Liverpool evaporate, and they would not want to be playing catch-up considering a fixture list that looks rather more intimidating than that of their neighbours.
Aside from that trip to White Hart Lane, Moyes’ side must also travel to Arsenal and Chelsea before the season is up, not to mention a potentially decisive Merseyside derby at Anfield in May.
However, out of the current top five, only Manchester United and Chelsea have beaten Everton this season, and previous wins over both Manchester clubs and Tottenham underline their ability to rise to the big occasion.
Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers’ men may only have Chelsea of the traditional big guns to contend with, but their recent 3-1 defeat to Southampton demonstrated that there are no easy fixtures in the Premier League, and they are sure to slip up elsewhere.
While Liverpool’s form has improved recently, their inconsistency looks likely to hold them back from closing the gap on their rivals before the season is up, and those 5/6 (1.83) odds for Everton to come out on top in a fiercely fought Merseyside contest should be snapped up now.
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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.
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