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Everton and Liverpool contesting more than the Merseyside derby

| 04.10.2015

The city of Liverpool will be locked in battle on the football field this weekend, but may find that there are far more than three points that Everton and Liverpool are scrapping over at the moment.

According to the morning papers on the day of the Merseyside derby, the two rivals are locked in a tussle to sign Ajax winger Anwar El Ghazi.

Southampton are also trailing the 20-year-old, but the leaders for the Dutchman’s signature are thought to be the Toffees and the Reds.

The Sunday People carry a report that suggests Roberto Martinez has watched the Lancers’ youngster personally. If he has, then the Spaniard will no doubt be impressed with what he will have seen.

El Ghazi has made a storming start to the season in Holland, scoring seven goals in as many Eredivisie outings thus far and catching widespread attention in the process.

That return is a steep improvement on the strike rate he mustered last term, when scoring nine in 31 games and his quick development is sure to have convinced Martinez further.

Rated at £12m, El Ghazi is eligible to play for Morocco internationally, but chose to represent the Netherlands and is awaiting his first cap at senior level.

He has, however, made appearances at U21, U18 and U17 level for the Oranje and will surely not be too far away from a first senior cap considering the side’s struggles in qualifying for Euro 2016.

Of course, should both Everton and Liverpool launch bids, be it at January or next summer, then the player will have another choice to make.

Perhaps the result of the weekend’s clash at Goodison Park will have a bearing, although it’s unlikely. Ladbrokes make the Reds marginal favourites in enemy territory, at 13/8 to win, with Everton at 9/5.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.