Everton looking for another major scalp to compound Liverpool misery

Everton manager Sean Dyche reacts during their Premier League match against Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool

FILE - Everton manager Sean Dyche reacts during their Premier League match against Arsenal at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP

Published Feb 9, 2023


Manchester — Life as Everton coach could not have got off to a better start for Sean Dyche but all eyes will be on Anfield in the latest round of Premier League fixtures as Liverpool host their Merseyside rivals looking to bring them back down to earth.

Hoping to build on their 1-0 victory over league leaders Arsenal last weekend on Dyche's first outing in the Everton hotseat, it does not get easier for the new boss with Liverpool up next.

The only consolation for Dyche is that this version of Liverpool is a shadow of the side who went so close to an unprecedented quadruple of trophies last term.

Most experts tipped Liverpool to be Manchester City's nearest challengers for the title this season, but Juergen Klopp's side find themselves languishing down in 10th in the standings.

Liverpool's recent form has been woeful. The Reds are winless in four league games in 2023, netting just one goal so far. Only once in the Premier League era have they had a longer winless run at the start of a calendar year.

Klopp's team have in fact failed to score in their last three league games, as many times as in their previous 65 matches combined.

The omens ahead of Monday's derby are not good, as Liverpool last went four league games without a goal from December 2020 to January 2021, with the fourth game in that run a 1-0 home defeat to Dyche's Burnley.

"Arsenal was a platform for the players to see the expectation, no matter who you are. No matter what style of player you are," Dyche told Everton TV this week.

"Some of the blocking and tackling … I think we doubled our tackles against them. That's a good sign that the players are at it. They want more."

Arsenal could be 24 points clear of Liverpool come Saturday evening if they get back to winning ways against Brentford at the Emirates Stadium.

Such a task will not be easy. Arsenal have lost their last two games in all competitions, as many as they had in their previous 21.

Brentford are unbeaten in their last nine league matches with only Newcastle United on a longer current run without defeat. The Bees are also looking to keep four consecutive clean sheets as a top flight side for the first time.

Manchester United will be looking to keep within touching distance of Arsenal when they travel to Leeds United on Sunday, just four days after the two teams played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in the reverse league fixture.

England international Jadon Sancho was back among the goals for the first time since September to help salvage his side a point that keeps them third in the standings, seven points behind Arsenal but having played two games more.

Despite a hard-earned draw at Old Trafford, managerless Leeds are still eight games without a win in the league, and sit just one point above the relegation zone ahead of the visit of their Roses rivals.

Champions Manchester City were unable to benefit from Arsenal's loss at Everton last weekend as they then were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Aston Villa are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, knowing they are likely to face a response from City, who have not lost successive league games since December 2018.

They trail Arsenal by five points, having played one game more, in pursuit of a fifth Premier League title in the last six seasons.

Fourth-placed Newcastle United face a long trip to the south coast to face Bournemouth tomorrow, with West Ham United taking on big-spending Chelsea in a London derby earlier in the day.