Liverpool vs Everton: Big Sam Aims For Upset In His First Merseyside Derby

Everton travels across Stanley Park to face its Merseyside rival on Sunday (December 10) looking to continue its resurgence under new manager Sam Allardyce.

Officially appointed on Thursday November 30, Allardyce won his first match in charge of the Toffees against Huddersfield last weekend, bringing a renewed atmosphere to the club after the disarray that former manager Ronald Koeman left behind.

With the best set of players that Allardyce has managed in his career, he will be eager for an upset with the quality of his squad.

However, history is leaning heavily against him and Everton has a huge task on its hands. Since the First Division became the Premier League in 1992, the two teams have played each other on 50 occasions and Everton have only notched up nine wins, compared to Liverpool's 22.

The last time the Toffees won at Anfield was at the end of the last century, when Kevin Campbell scored a winner in September 1999. That's over 18 years of Merseyside bragging rights, which will give confidence to the Reds.

In fact, Everton have not managed a win in the last 12 meetings between the two teams in all competitions.

The Everton manager's own history against Liverpool will not spark masses of hope among its supporters either. Allardyce has beaten Liverpool with three different clubs—Bolton, West Ham, and Crystal Palace—but from 26 games against the Reds he has only won six.

Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce
Jurgen Klopp, left, and Sam Allardyce at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, December 30, 2015. Allardyce takes on Klopp in his first Merseyside derby as Everton manager on Sunday. Reuters / Andrew Yates

In contrast, Jurgen Klopp became the only Liverpool boss to win his first three Merseyside derbies with a 3-1 win in April last season.

The statistics this season don't offer much more hope for the Toffees. Everton has not managed a single away win so far in the league, whereas Liverpool are unbeaten at home and has only tasted defeat twice all season.

Liverpool goes into Sunday's derby in fine form, having scored 15 goals in its last three matches and conceded only one. The feared front four of Salah, Mane, Firmino, and Coutinho collectively have 36 goals during this season's campaign, with Salah as the league's current top scorer on 12.

Furthermore, in the Premier League statistic tables Liverpool is in the top three for most shots, most times hit the woodwork, most goals from outside the box, most goals from inside the box, and most passes, demonstrating the deadly ability and attacking football being played under forward-thinking Klopp.

Although Allardyce is known for his well-drilled defenses and organized teams, it is hard to see how he will be able to stop such a clinical side that plays at blinding pace and finishes with such ferocity.

Everton will be hoping to exploit Liverpool's at times nervous defence through set pieces, and Wayne Rooney will be eager for his first Merseyside derby since 2004.

But surprisingly the Reds are actually in the top five for most clean sheets this season too, having prevented teams from scoring on six occasions in the league; and although Rooney himself has over 200 Premier League goals, only six of them have come against Liverpool.

So all signs suggest a red river of goals on Sunday, but with Allardyce in charge and the players fired up for a classic derby, the result is far from predetermined.