Everton's edge on Liverpool

Leighton Baines is poised to exploit the Reds' weakest spot on the pitch

Updated: September 30, 2011, 1:36 PM ET
By Albert Larcada | ESPN Insider
Everton and Manchester CityPress Association/AP ImagesWhen Leighton Baines, center, is given room to create, Everton goals typically follow.

In one of the more underrated rivalries of European soccer, Everton and Liverpool will meet in the "Merseyside derby" at Goodison Park on Saturday (7:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2). Before the inception of the Premier League in 1992, this rivalry was somewhat genial, with many fans sharing an allegiance between the two clubs. Since 1992, things have changed as the enmity between the clubs has grown. This derby has seen more red cards than any other matchup in the Premier League era (19), compelling fans to choose one side or the other. Liverpool has the all-time edge at 70-57-57.

This season neither squad has gotten off to the best of starts. Liverpool, after spending Fernando Torres' entire 50 million pound transfer fee times two since January, has lost its last two EPL away matches, including a 4-0 thumping by Spurs. Everton, led by American goalkeeper Tim Howard, has only one home win in three EPL matches against less-than-stellar competition (Wigan, Aston Villa and QPR). However, a closer look at each squad's style reveals that Everton may have a leg up on its crosstown rival.

Albert Larcada is an Analytics Specialist in ESPN's Stats & Information group. Among other analytics projects, he maintains, advances and writes about ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) algorithm.