There is nothing like some provocative rhetoric in the build up to a derby, but there is also a good degree of truth in what former Everton defender Michael Ball has boldly claimed ahead of the Merseyside version.
Speaking in the Liverpool Echo, Ball added no shortage of spice to the beef between his beloved Toffees and the neighbouring Reds, who visit next, by declaring “there is not one Liverpool player I would want in the Everton line-up.”
Inflammatory as this barb might sound to your average Liverpool fan, here at Ladbrokes News we thought we’d put this claim to the test and, were a little surprised to decipher that Ball was near enough on the money.
Despite only a point separating blue from red in the table, it was hard to shoehorn many of Brendan Rodgers’ players into the line-up, based on form this season and barring long-term injuries.
Having scored four more and conceded two less, this is a Toffees vintage many will be backing at 6/4 to bring home the bacon and the bragging rights on Merseyside.
Defensively, Everton have generally looked far more accomplished than their rivals this term, with John Stones (expected to return on Sunday) and Phil Jagielka, offering a far steelier partnership than anything Liverpool can muster.
On the left, young Brendan Galloway has been exceptional and deserves his place in this side ahead of Alberto Moreno or Joe Gomez who’ve both been auditioning for the berth at Anfield this season.
Seamus Coleman is the only omission from what would be an all-blue affair at the back, as Nathaniel Clyne has been more consistent through availability if nothing else.
In midfield, two JMs, James McCarthy and James Milner, have been the heartbeats of their respective teams, while Ross Barkley’s claims for a starting England spot see Goodison’s favourite son push Philippe Coutinho out wide.
Recent Premier League brace-grabbers Romelu Lukaku and Daniel Sturridge complete the picture.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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