Liverpool vs EvertonFA Cup, KO: 16:01 Jan 5, 2020, Anfield
THIS Merseyside derby is the highlight of the FA Cup third round and if there's a repeat of the seven-goal thriller we saw when Everton last headed to Anfield we'll be in for a treat.
That 5-2 defeat in early December was Marco Silva's last game as Toffees boss and his departure led to an upturn in fortunes under caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson.
Carlo Ancelotti was then named Silva's permanent successor and immediately targeted this cup tie as the chance to lay down a marker against their city rivals.
The Italian suffered his first defeat on New Year's day in a 2-1 loss at Manchester City, a result that ended Everton's five-game unbeaten run in the Premier League.
While that run was impressive it pales in comparison the one Liverpool are currently on, with Thursday's win over Sheffield United making it a year unbeaten in the league.
But with derby bragging rights up for grabs the Anfield side will be taking this one deadly seriously, especially as they have a bit of breathing space in the league with such a huge lead.
How the bookies view it
Liverpool were 3/10 favourites in the last derby at Anfield but Everton's revival has seen that price increase to 17/20 with Bet365. Ancelotti's men are 31/10 with Sportingbet while the draw is 3/1 at Betfred.
Our man Slips Tips cashed in by backing the Reds to be winning at half-time and full-time in that 5-2 victory and a repeat here pays 2/1 with Coral. That looks a good option while a Liverpool victory with both teams to score also appeals at 21/10 with Marathonbet.
I tipped the Reds to win to nil against Sheffield United and that's how it panned out as they kept a clean sheet for the fifth consecutive game. But this is a derby and Everton will fancy their chances of getting on the scoresheet.
Recent head to head
Liverpool are unbeaten in the last 20 Merseyside derbies so the Toffees are certainly due a victory. But 10 of those matches have ended in draws so they haven't been totally dominated by their foes across Stanley Park.
The last FA Cup between them was certainly close, with a late header from Virgil van Dijk earning the Reds a 2-1 victory back in January 2018 (below).
Everton's last Cup win over Liverpool came in 2009, when Dan Gosling's extra-time goal sealed a 1-0 victory in a third-round replay.
Players to watch
Klopp surprised everyone by leaving Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah on the bench for the last derby but it proved to be a masterstroke. The players he brought in, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri, scored three of their five goals that day as the Reds ripped Silva's fragile defence apart.
In the midst of a heavy fixture schedule he has vowed to bring in “fresh legs” but Klopp's options are limited with Naby Keita joining Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Fabinho and Joel Matip on the sidelines. New signing Takumi Minamino might feature at some point.
Belgian striker Origi loves a derby goal and has five across his Liverpool career, despite never being a regular. He's 19/10 with Betway for another strike here and that's good value – but only if he starts.
Sadio Mane has been the most consistent Liverpool scorer this term and also has three derby goals to his name. The Senegalese, who clinched victory against the Blades, is 7/5 with Betway to score here and that looks the safest bet.
Gylfi Sigurdsson scored for Everton when these sides last faced off in the Cup and is 11/2 with Betway for anytime scorer. He was subbed after an indifferent display against Man City but could be worth a tentative bet if Ancelotti starts him in the derby due to his long-range shooting prowess.
Anything else catch the eye?
Despite the last derby spoiling us with seven goals, I can see this being pretty tight. There was just one goal across the three previous showdowns and Ancelotti may ask his side to sit back and try to frustrate Liverpool. Under 3.5 goals is 7/10 with Sportingbet and that looks well worth a punt.
There was a penalty awarded when these sides last played in the FA Cup, with James Milner (below) scoring, and there should have been another in that 5-2 Liverpool win last month.
Virgil van Dijk fouled Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the box with the score at 2-1 but got away with it as VAR, for once, failed to intervene.
Another penalty in this clash is priced at 11/4 by William Hill and that looks a good option while a sending-off offers better odds at 9/2 with SkyBet.
This FA Cup match between Liverpool and Everton will be played on Jan 5, 2020 and kick off at 16:01