ACCORDING to custom and tradition, the formbook goes out of the window in derby matches.
Which maybe explains the bookies prices for Sunday’s 219th Merseyside set-to.
Everton can go nine points clear of their cross-park rivals with a victory on Sunday, but don’t for one second think that means they’re the form team.
Form tables are usually based on a team’s last six matches – and a Premier League table calculated over the last six matches sees Liverpool lying sixth, with 10 points from their last six games, and Everton eighth with one point less.
Indignant Evertonians might point to the venue, and explain that all four of Everton’s derby victories since the Millennium have come at Goodison Park – and when a form guide is calculated using just home games, only Chelsea lie above Everton – and that on goals scored.
But Liverpool are doing just as well away from home.
The Reds are third in the ‘away match’ form table – with only Chelsea and Manchester United performing better on their travels in the last six games.
And Liverpool have also won on four of their last five Premier League trips to Goodison.
With such a plethora of conflicting information, early prices for Sunday’s showdown are inconclusive.
Bet365 make Liverpool fractional favourites. They go 8/5 Liverpool, 17/10 Everton and the draw 23/10.
SkyBet go fractionally the other way. They make Everton 8/5 (or 2.60 in the more precise decimal odds) with Liverpool 13/8 (2.63).
Betfred make Everton 6/4 and Liverpool 7/4, while William Hill, Bluesquare and Betfair simply can’t separate them.
Even on the precise decimal odds Betfair use, they have the Blues and the Reds both available at exactly 2.82 this week.
So if the bookies can’t make their minds up who’s going to win, how on earth can the casual punter?
A much better bet is the cards market.