In a weekend interview, Everton manager Roberto Martínez believes that his side can break the 70-point barrier if they continue to develop. Currently, it does not appear that Martínez is being entirely unreasonable in setting his top-four target, given how Chelsea and Liverpool have been struggling. Of course, they will need to triumph over their neighbours this Sunday.
Liverpool’s recent League Cup victory over Bristol City was an embarrassment for Brendan Rodgers and his players, considering that they required penalties to overcome the club that is currently propping up the entire Championship table. However, they were able to rebound with a 3-2 win over Aston Villa.
Everton will be under pressure to win this game. Thus far, they have not excelled in their home games. Four points from a possible nine represents a disappointing return that is highlighted by a 2-2 draw with Watford and a 2-0 loss to Man City.
Getting back to Martínez’s earlier comments, it is obviously a stretch for the Toffees to finish in the top four. However, finishing outside of the top six would be extremely disappointing for this talented bunch. Midfield could be an area for concern over the entire season, given how Gareth Barry will turn 35 and that Ross Barkley was not consistent in the last campaign.
After playing 62 minutes against Norwich City, Daniel Sturridge managed 90 minutes in Liverpool’s 3-2 win against Aston Villa. The impact of the England international’s return was obvious, as he contributed two goals and proved to be the catalyst in the win.
Rodgers will need Sturridge to kick on if they are to breakdown the solid defensive partnership of John Stones and Phil Jagielka. Meanwhile, Rodgers needs to figures out whether he wants to play with three or four defenders. At present, neither approach appears to be the answer. Liverpool have conceded nine in seven games so far.
Tip one: Liverpool draw no bet @ 1.83 with ladbrokes
Tip two: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.00 with ladbrokes
Sturridge’s return will give Liverpool an excellent chance to win, but ultimately these teams could cancel one another out. Backing Liverpool on draw no bet will return your stake in the event of a draw.