Allardyce hails Gueye’s influence

Everton manager Sam Allardyce believes that defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye is a crucial component in his side when they are at their best.

The 28-year-old Senegal international, who recently signed an extended contract to keep him at Goodison Park until the summer of 2022, joined the Toffees from Aston Villa in the summer of 2016.

He has since proved to be highly effective in the Everton engine room and has clearly impressed Allardyce, despite the Toffees having endured a difficult season to date.

"Idrissa is important without the ball in the way he screens the back four," Allardyce told the clubs official website.

"He has this N'Golo Kante-like style and we have heard the praise about Kante and what he did for Leicester City (and Chelsea). I think Idrissa is that type of player for us.

"Also his capabilities in possession are very good; he rarely gives the ball away and that is what we need. He gives us a real consistency.

"I love his attitude, the way he enjoys his football, the dedication and focus with which he trains every day."

Everton are next in action on Saturday, when they head to the Liberty Stadium to take on a Swansea City side still battling to move clear of relegation danger.

The Merseysiders have only lost once in six previous Premier League visits to Swansea, that defeat being a 1-0 reverse last season, when Fernando Llorente scored the only goal of the game.

Everton are available at 19/10 to win on Saturday, with the draw priced at 11/5 and a 1-1 final scoreline 11/2.

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Klopp satisfied with derby point

Jurgen Klopp said he was happy with another clean sheet as his Liverpool team drew 0-0 away at neighbours Everton.

With the derby game sandwiched between the two Champions League ties against Manchester City, he made five changes from the side that beat City 3-0 at Anfield in midweek.

Top scorer Mo Salah was missing from the 18 and, after the excitement of beating Pep Guardiola's side, this was a game lacking in drama with the home side having the better chances, eepecially towards the end.

However, for Klopp it was a point gained and he was satisfied to get away from Goodison Park with honours even.

He told the BBC: "A point is OK. Everton were always ready to fight but we didn't give them the opportunity until the late stages, we stopped playing football and were a bit lucky. But that is what we have to take. I think it's an absolutely deserved draw.

"For 75 minutes we were completely in charge. I am absolutely OK, it's not the best day in my life but let's carry on. Now we have to focus immediately and be ready again on Tuesday, let's fight for the next round."

The result means that Liverpool missed the chance to go above Manchester United into second in the table but they are secure in the top four with an 11-point lead over fifth placed Chelsea, though the Blues do have two games in hand.

Everton meanwhile stay ninth and the result means they have now gone 15 league derbies without beating their great rivals.

Klopp, again with Manchester City in mind, substituted James Milner and Sadio Mane to keep them fresh for Tuesday night.

Liverpool are 7/4 to reach the Champions League final and are 11/2 to win the trophy.

An English winner of the Champions League is priced at 4/1.

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The Football Games Which Fail to Entertain

Everton 0-0 Liverpool

The irony is that Everton fans probably would have accepted this result before kick-off.

Given their heroes last tasted success in the Merseyside derby in October 2010, given that they were torn apart on their own turf seven days ago, many in the blue half of Merseyside would have settled for a draw pre-match.

Yet on reflection, they won’t need football betting backers to tell them this was a glorious opportunity missed against much-changed opponents.

Not only were the 90 minutes of live betting at Goodison Park largely tame, but aside from a couple of flashpoints, we didn’t even have a feisty affair to compensate.
There has rarely been any love lost when it comes to this fixture.

Indeed, in Premier League clashes between the two city rivals over the past 25 years, there have been 21 red cards (14 of them to Everton).

However, this was something of a bore draw.

On saying that, Liverpool should be happy with their afternoon’s work and a fine point in the middle of a heavy schedule.

Considering this was sandwiched between a Champions League double header against Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp was always likely to rest some key players.

This is, though, the strongest squad Liverpool have had for some time and they controlled long spells of the match before, understandably, tiring somewhat late on.

Confidence is key in football and the contrast between the two clubs was evident.

As early as the third minute groans could be detected from a minority of home fans, far from ideal for such a clash.

Victory would have been a perfect riposte for ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce who has unfairly been criticised by Evertonians, despite overseeing improvement since he took the helm in late November after the failed David Unsworth experiment.

But they were very much second best until applying pressure late on and, deep down, Allardyce will realise this was a great chance missed to end a run of 17 Merseyside derbies without victory (Liverpool have triumphed in eight meetings with the other nine encounters ending with honours even.)

Ultimately a day of frustration for Everton whose wait for a derby win goes on.

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Klopp ponders Salah involvement

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has hinted that Mohamed Salah has an outside chance of featuring in the Merseyside derby clash with Everton.

The 25-year-old Egypt international forward limped off early on in the second half of the 3-0 midweek Champions League win over Manchester City, with a groin problem appearing to curtail his involvement.

However, the problem would seem not to be anything too serious, with Klopp having not ruled Salah out of the showdown with the Toffees at Goodison Park at lunchtime on Saturday.

Klopp told his pre-match press conference: "I don't think it makes sense to talk here about what we do with the boys in rehab, but, of course, you can imagine we have tried everything to make him available.

"There are still 24 hours to go pretty much until we start, so let's see what happens."

Salah has enjoyed a stellar first season at Anfield following his £34million move from AS Roma, having already scored 38 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions.

Twenty-nine of those strikes have come in the Premier League, with Salah currently five goals ahead of Tottenham Hotspur ace Harry Kane in the race to be leading scorer in the division this season.

Manchester City star Sergio Aguero, with 21, is the only other player to have surpassed the 20-goal mark in the English top-flight.

Salah can currently be backed at 1/8 to be Premier League topscorer come the end of the season, with Kane priced at 6/1 and Aguero 25/1.

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We All Love Goals for Handicap Betting

Goals win and lose football games, there’s no doubt about that. Whether your job is to score them at one end or stop them at the other, little else matters.

Time is running out and teams at both ends of the Premier League need wins. So for my Asian Handicap Betting picks this week, I’m on the hunt for goals, goals and more goals.

Everton vs Liverpool (April 07, 19:30 GMT+8)

And where better to start than Goodison Park, where Liverpool—fresh from stunning Manchester City for the second time this season—aim to put another one over on their city rivals?

Can the Toffees frustrate Mo Salah and his goal-hungry strike partners? Big Sam will have a plan, but I wonder if it involves stopping, or simply outscoring, the Reds!

I don’t think Everton can stop the Reds, so I’ll take over 2.50 goals at odds of 1.88 for a 🌟🌟🌟 bet.

Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace (April 07, 22:00 GMT+8)

This will be a lovely game for the neutrals. The Cherries are always entertaining (at both ends of the pitch) while the Eagles have a player who can create chances for himself and others in Wilfried Zaha. Palace desperately need the points and will go for it against Eddie Howe’s swashbucklers.

The Eagles are at 2.19, Draw no Bet, for a 🌟🌟 punt.

Chelsea vs West Ham United (April 08, 23:30 GMT+8)

East meets west as the cockney boys of West Ham head up the King’s Road to meet their aristocratic cousins. But all’s not well at the Bridge as four defeats in six have dumped Chelsea out of the Champions League and in serious danger of missing out of next year’s competition. Marko Arnautovic has found his Mojo and could be the man to shoot the Hammers to safety.

West Ham have more to play for; and so for a 🌟🌟 bet, I’m backing an away win with a +1.50 goals start at odds of 2.12.

A short explanation on how our (🌟) bets are worth :

🌟🌟🌟 = £20
🌟🌟 = £10
🌟 = £5

Head over to the betting tips section and see how our writers perform in their predicted bets.

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Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Will You Bet Online on Everton To Make Liverpool Blue?

Everton vs Liverpool

The streets of Liverpool will be awash with blue and red on Saturday as the Merseyside Derby comes to town.

This is known as ‘The Friendly Derby’ because families throughout Merseyside are split. But unlike Manchester, the colour of your team in Liverpool wouldn’t usually halt any wedding plans! It’s the longest-running top-flight derby in England and it’s one that handicap betting players can really get their teeth into.

Betting websites will all have the Reds as clear favourites to win, but they won’t have it all their own way at a passionate Goodison Park. Before they make the short journey across Stanley Park, Jurgen Klopp’s team also has the small matter of a Champions League clash with Manchester City to take care of.

Everton haven’t come out on top of a Mersey Derby since 2010, but they are happier at home where they won three of the last four.

A win for Everton would mean the world and this could be their best chance in a while.

Wayne Rooney would just love to win this for the Toffees, he’s blue through and through. He hit a late penalty to snatch a draw in the return tie at Anfield in December and if he scores on Saturday, you’ll be able to hear the roar in Ireland!

But it’s in defence where Sam Allardyce’s team needs to be on the top of its game. The return from long-term injury of Seamus Coleman is a boost, but centre-back Michael Keane needs to recover the form which saw him win England recognition 12 months ago.

Keep out Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane … and you have a chance, lads!

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Stones sits out Everton return

Manchester City defender John Stones will miss the return to his former club, Everton, after suffering a head injury while on international duty with England.

The 23-year-old centre-back had to be replaced late on in the 1-1 draw with Italy at Wembley on Tuesday evening and concussion protocols mean he is out of the reckoning for the weekend action, with Stones having now not started a Premier League game for more than two months.

Citizens head coach Pep Guardiola confirmed at his pre-match press conference: "John has concussion in his head from the last game of the international break.

"He feels really good, but the rules say he must take seven days off, so he is not available. The others are okay."

Meanwhile, Guardiola also confirmed that striker Sergio Aguero close to being considered for a role against the Toffees at Goodison Park at teatime on Saturday,

The 29-year-old Argentinian missed the 2-0 win at Stoke City and sat out the international break as his country faced Italy and Spain.

However, he is close to being involved on Merseyside, with Guardiola adding: "He is much, much better. We will see tomorrow if he is involved."

City, despite their lofty status as runaway Premier League leaders, are without a win in their last three league games against Everton and were thrashed 4-0 at Goodison Park in the corresponding fixture last season.

They can be backed at 4/11 to claim all three points on Saturday and are 6/1 to win the game 2-0, with striker Gabriel Jesus available at 4/5 to score at any time.

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Sigurdsson to take his time

Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has conceded that he has been surprised by how difficult it has been to battle back from a knee injury.

The Iceland international picked up the injury against Brighton earlier this month but he is upbeat about his chances of being fit enough to represent his country at the World Cup this summer.

A scan revealed that he should have recovered from the knee problem by May which will give him time to reach peak fitness by the time the action gets underway in Russia in 11 weeks' time.

Former Swansea City and Tottenham star Sigurdsson said: "The body will take its time to recover and I have to listen to it. I have been very lucky with injuries in my career and, hopefully, I will come back stronger and fitter than ever.

"I am seeing the specialist in London next Tuesday and he will reassess me – and we will take it from there.

"It is hard work and you can understand why it is difficult for the players who have long-term injuries when they have to watch the boys going out training every day."

Everton, who are ninth in the Premier League table, host league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

Sam Allardyce's team can be backed at 8/1 to inflict only a second league defeat of the season on Manchester City while they can be backed at 1/5 to finish in the top half of the table this term.

O’Neill thrilled with Rice debut

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill was delighted with Declan Rice after the youngster claimed the man of the match award on his debut against Turkey.

O'Neill's side lost the friendly in Antalya 1-0, but the West Ham teenager impressed on his senior international bow.

Rice had been the subject of some advances from England boss Gareth Southgate recently, but the London-born 19-year-old was firm in his commitment to the Irish cause.

He admitted afterwards that he had a tear in his eye during the national anthem, with his father in the stand and memories of his grandparents in Cork in his mind.

His manager was suitably impressed with a composed display that belied his tender years.

"He's played left-sided centre-half for West Ham, his club, and at this minute I think he's getting accustomed to a number of positions," said the Ireland boss.

"I had no hesitation in putting him into the middle of the field. It was a man-of-the-match performance and I thought he was excellent for us.

"Considering it's his debut and he's 19 years of age, it was an impressive performance from an impressive young man."

Skipper Seamus Coleman was back on the pitch in an Irish shirt for the first time since a horrific leg-break in a World Cup qualifier against Wales in Dublin more than a year ago and the Everton stalwart was also keen to highlight Rice's performance.

"We're disappointed to have lost but I thought Declan was brilliant," said Coleman.

"He wasn't just brilliant today, he's been brilliant all week in training.

"He's a great lad, desperate to do well and a few of us could have taken a leaf out of his book today."

West Ham are 9/5 to beat Southampton next weekend at the London Stadium. The struggling Saints are 6/4 while the draw is 11/5.

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Loss leaves Lambert feeling low

Paul Lambert rued his side's misfortune as relegation-threatened Stoke City were beaten 2-1 on home soil by Everton on Saturday.

The Potters had Charlie Adam sent off before half time for a rash foul on Wayne Rooney while Lambert thought Everton's first goal in the 69th minute should have been disallowed as Cenk Tosun was offside.

The Turkish forward went on to grab the winner for Sam Alladyce's side after Stoke substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had equalised in the 77th minute, injuring himself in the process.

Stoke face Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool next month and are 4/11 to be relegated this season while they are 15/2 to win their match against the Gunners on 1st April.

"Looking at their first goal, it is offside and how the officials have missed that I am not entirely sure," said a dejected Lambert afterwards.

"In these games, especially in situations like we are in, then you need the big decisions to go your way, and they haven't, unfortunately."

Everton are ninth after the victory and Allardyce does not think they can be relegated, saying: "It puts us on the 40-point mark and, even though mathematically we are not safe, I don't think anyone can catch us now and we can start to prepare for next season."