Everton: Reasons to Believe the Toffees Will Finish Above Liverpool This Season

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIAugust 16, 2012

Everton: Reasons to Believe the Toffees Will Finish Above Liverpool This Season

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    Few greater rivalries exist in the English Premier League than that between Everton and Liverpool.

    Both Merseyside clubs simply detest the other, making their goals for the upcoming Premier League season very simple—don't lose, especially not at home, and finish above the other on the league table.

    Last year, it was a split. Liverpool won both games against the Toffees, but David Moyes' men had the last laugh when they finished above the Reds on the Premier League table.

    What will happen this year? Will Everton triumph over Liverpool again, or will the tables be reversed?

    Read on to find the 10 reasons why the Toffees will indeed finish above their Merseyside neighbors this season.

1. Consistency

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    Liverpool's summer has been one of great turmoil—starting with Kenny Dalglish's aging from the club and Brendan Rodgers' appointment as the new Reds manager.

    They've been busy in the summer transfer window, with a stack of players leaving and rumors around new targets continuing to emerge.

    Everton, in contrast, have consistency from last season. They have relatively the same side—signing loan midfielder Steven Pienaar permanently and keeping their squad essentially the same as last year. 

    Starting the season strong is always important, and in light of their offseason consistency, you'd have to argue that Everton are in a better position than Liverpool.

2. Management

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    As mentioned, Liverpool have a new manager this year in Brendan Rodgers—the former Swansea City boss who will be a very good manager for the club over time.

    However, bringing in new management—especially at the top—and management that is going to change the formation and style to come from the Reds, must have ramifications for their season.

    They will play different football this year, something that will take time to develop effectively and something that will take weeks, perhaps months, to incorporate into the club.

    Again, the contrast is Everton, with manager David Moyes once again staying on at Goodison Park and able to build on the platform he built with the Toffees last season.

3. Tough Defense

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    Everton's tough, gritty defense is bound to feature again this year and will no doubt achieve results for the Toffees—even when they don't play all that well offensively.

    We saw it time and time again last season from Everton—expect the likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard to do the same again this year and walk away with competition points from matches they probably didn't deserve.

4. Left-Hand Side Attack

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    As far as left-hand side attacks go, Everton's could well be one of the strongest in the Premier League this season and has the potential to surprise many defenses.

    Starting from the back with Baines, the likes of Marouane Fellaini and new signing Steven Pienaar showed last season that they can combine effectively down the left flank—all the way into Nikica Jelavic at the top of the attack.

    Those four players will likely cause havoc on the left this season for the Toffees—arguably their best weapon in attack and one that will yield great rewards for the club throughout the year.

5. Liverpool's Away Form

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    Last year, Liverpool were simply appalling away from home, and unless they drastically rectify that this year, you'd have to suggest that it's a huge benefit to Everton's chances of finishing above them on the Premier League table.

    According to SoccerStats.com, Liverpool lost 53 percent of their away matches last year and conceded more than 30 percent more goals than they did at Anfield. 

    Everton, on the other hand, only lost 32 percent of their matches on the road and had significantly more draws away from home than Liverpool did.

    Those competition points could well be the difference between finishing above or below the other this season—just like they were last season.

6. Kevin Mirallas

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    If Everton net Olympiakos striker Kevin Mirallas—which it seems that they will—the Toffees will have a huge addition to their squad for the upcoming season (per Liverpool Echo).

    Mirallas is hugely underrated and brings a great attacking edge to the club, a partner for Nikica Jelavic and another body to watch out for going forward.

    If you haven't seen the 25-year-old in action, watch some highlights of him here, and you'll see why he's already been considered the Belgian Ronaldinho

    Mirallas sees Liverpool's signing of Fabio Borini and raises them a whole lot more.

7. Tim Howard

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    If you thought Tim Howard was going to be just another middle-of-the-road goalkeeper this season, then think again.

    Howard's recent performance against Mexico for the United States proved that he will be a top-class shot-stopper this season.

    Guaranteed.

    The 33-year-old's reflexes and brilliant saves will no doubt keep Everton in the hunt for Premier League glory, and as proved against Mexico, will earn them competition points that could have otherwise dropped.

    That, and he's a prolific goal scorer.

8. Liverpool's Summer Departures

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    Liverpool have brought in quality players this summer in Fabio Borini and Joe Allen, but it must be admitted that their squad has taken several hits across the board.

    Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy, Alberto Aquilani, Maxi Rodriguez and Fabio Aurelio have all left Anfield this summer (per The Daily Mail), and whilst Everton have also seen players leave, you'd have to argue that Jack Rodwell has been the club's only significant departure.

    The Toffees squad will remain mostly the same, whilst Liverpool will experience more change.

    Everton's consistency here, as touched on before, should see them stay above the Reds on the competition table.

9. Nikica Jelavic

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    Nikica Jelavic is, without doubt, one of the most clinical and explosive strikers in the English Premier League and is set for another huge season at Goodison Park.

    The Croatian international was the club's leading goal scorer last season despite the fact that he didn't start a match with the club until February—netting incredibly important goals along the way.

    Jelavic netted the game-winning goal against Tottenham and picked up a draw-getting brace against Norwich City and Manchester United—both away from home.

    That's five points alone that the Toffees wouldn't have had without Jelavic last season, which would have dropped them below Liverpool on the table.

10. They've Already Done It

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    Everton will finish above Liverpool this season—not because of just one of the reasons mentioned previously but from a combination of all them put together.

    They proved last season that they can be superior and more consistent than their Merseyside neighbors, overcoming a 20-year Liverpool reign to finish above them on the English Premier League ladder.

    They now know that it is possible, and as a result, they will finish higher than the Reds this year. 

     

    Will Everton finish higher than Liverpool this season?

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