Why unlucky Everton could prove a tougher game for Liverpool than it first appears

A home match against Everton should be a formality for Liverpool.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 20 games against the Toffees and have suffered defeat at Anfield on just one occasion since the turn of the century. That 2-0 loss arrived during that horrendous run of form at home in 2020/21 when the match was played behind closed doors.

Jurgen Klopp named Ozan Kabak and Jordan Henderson as his centre-back pairing for that clash. The former skipper was replaced by Nat Phillips due to injury after just 30 minutes. The Toffees were also awarded a controversial penalty late on. Everything just seemed to go the way of the visitors in that game.

Sean Dyche’s men make the trip to Anfield this weekend having had a difficult start to the 2023/24 campaign. The Toffees are in a bit of a sticky situation having taken just seven points from their eight matches. Their early season form finds them in 16th position right now, just three points clear of the relegation zone.

READ MORE: Liverpool vs Everton – Match Preview

Everton have already lost to Fulham, Wolves, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Luton Town this season while they could only manage a 2-2 draw with Sheffield United. They have, however, won two of their last three in the Premier League, beating Brentford 3-1 and Bournemouth 3-0.

By comparison, Liverpool have won five of their eight matches in the Premier League and currently sit fourth in the English top-flight, just three points off top. The Reds have scored nine more goals than their Merseyside neighbours and conceded three fewer.

Even when you take into account the early kick-off following an international break tax, everything points to a Liverpool win.

But sometimes the table doesn’t tell the whole story. This is one of those times.

It pains me to say this as a Liverpool fan, but Everton have been extremely unlucky this term. They are on a run that is not sustainable. At some point, they’re going to cash in on the luck they are owed.

For context, Understat has the Toffees in seventh position for Expected Points with 14.34. The same model has Liverpool in sixth position with an Expected Points total of 14.7. Granted, the Reds have had more difficult matches, but it does highlight just how unfortunate Dyche’s side have been.

FotMob uses the Opta model for Expected Goals (xG) across their website. They have Everton down as having created chances worth an xG total of 14.9 but they have managed to find the back of the net on just nine occasions.

The Toffees rank ninth for xG but are actually ranked joint-third for Big Chances Created with 21. Only Newcastle United (23) and Spurs (22) have created more. If you needed one stat to sum up their entire season it would be Big Chances Missed.

Everton are the only team in the Premier League to have missed over 20. In fact, they’ve missed every single one of their Big Chances Created (21).

They have had no trouble creating opportunities but a lot of trouble converting them. Things have improved since Dominic Calvert-Lewin returned to the first-team fold, however.

Defensively, they have had some issues too. They have conceded 12 goals despite only having an Expected Goals conceded total of 10.4. For even more context here, Liverpool have conceded nine goals but have a higher xG conceded total (11.6).

So whereas Alisson’s exploits between the sticks have prevented goals, Jordan Pickford hasn’t been quite as useful for the Toffees on a consistent basis. He’s put in a few eye-catching showings but then, in other games, he’s struggled.

With a bit more luck at both ends of the pitch, their entire season could be shaping up completely differently.

This is why it is dangerous to judge them on their results alone as performances have been much more encouraging and they do have the potential to cause Liverpool a few problems, especially given the Reds are notorious for their slow starts after the international break.

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