Liverpool are in the midst of one of their worst spells of the glittering Jurgen Klopp era and the out-of-sorts Reds may be dreading the prospect of an Anfield Merseyside derby clash against rejuvenated Everton.
The Toffees are far from out of the woods - they remain in the relegation zone with 17 games of the Premier League season remaining - but there was a definite upturn in performance in their first match under new boss Sean Dyche as they beat league leaders Arsenal 1-0.
As a result, Everton's supporters will be making the short hop across Stanley Park with more than just a faint hope of getting one over on their neighbours.
|What||Liverpool v Everton|
|When||20:00, Monday 13th February 2023|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Main Event & Premier League|
|Odds||Liverpool 1/2, Draw 10/3, Everton 11/2|
Having started the season as realistic title contenders, Liverpool's already faltering campaign has completely fallen apart since the start of 2023 following away defeats at Brentford (3-1), Brighton (3-0) and Wolves (3-0).
While those clubs are all in stronger positions than Everton, Klopp should be worried about the continuing struggles of a defence that has typically been among the best in the Premier League over recent seasons.
Liverpool's mid-table position does not mark them out as value 1/2 shots for this Merseyside scrap, however, they remain a much more formidable proposition on home turf.
The Reds have claimed 21 of their 29 points in front of the Kop, suffering only one defeat in ten Premier League matches, and they have scored 23 goals while shipping just nine goals. Away from home, meanwhile, they've suffered six defeats in ten, conceding 19 times.
Recently history favours Liverpool. Klopp's men have won six of the last nine Mersey derbies to have taken place at Anfield and have suffered just one loss against Everton since the start of 2011 - a 2-0 defeat in February 2021 which marked their first home reverse against the Toffees since 1999.
Klopp will have to contend with the likely absence of key midfield man Thiago Alcantara, while Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk and Arthur Melo are also sidelined for the Reds, who may well be able to call upon Diogo Jota for the first time since October.
There's a renewed sense of optimism at Goodison Park following the appointment of Dyche as manager and Everton fans will be much happier following their surprise triumph over Arsenal.
The Toffees were winless in ten in all competitions when the axe fell on Frank Lampard after last month's 2-0 loss at West Ham but the beginning of Dyche's tenure saw improvement and offered a glimpse of what is likely to come.
Ex-Burnley boss Dyche is something of a survival specialist, masterminding the Clarets' long Premier League stay, and he immediately set about making Everton hard to beat, deploying a back four of Seamus Coleman, Conor Coady, James Tarkowski and Vitalii Mykolenko against the Gunners.
Protected by an industrious midfield three comprising Abdoulaye Doucoure, Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana, the Toffees' backline looked far more solid, something which could spell problems for a blunter-than-usual Liverpool outfit.
Everton's road record (W1D4L5) is as poor as you might expect from a struggling club, but even under Frank Lampard there were glimpses of a team capable of more, including a 1-1 draw against Manchester City on New Year's Eve.
The Draw is a 10/3 shot while Everton are 11/2 to make it back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since they defeated Southampton at the beginning of October.
Expect Dyche to prioritise defensive solidity once again, particularly with doubts over the availability of key attacking option Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
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Everton have suffered a couple of hammerings in this fixture in recent campaigns but the Merseyside derby has often been a tight contest with the Toffees content to sit back and invite Liverpool to try and break them down.
That's not going to change under Dyche, who aimed to frustrate Arsenal for long spells last week, instructing his players to attack on the counter and pile the pressure on from set-pieces, resulting in Tarkowski's match-winning goal.
Those looking for a wager outside of the match-winner markets can consider backing Under 2.5 goals at 11/10, while there is certainly scope for Everton's centre-backs to create havoc from set-piece situations again.
Liverpool conceded from a set-piece against Wolves last week and against Brighton in the FA Cup the previous weekend, so Tarkowski, who is 20/1 To Score Anytime, and Coady, 20/1, are among the more interesting goalscorer options.