Martinez: Anfield most difficult place for first 20 mins - is he right?

Everton boss claims early stages at Anfield are 'hardest in the league.' But is that right compared to Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City?

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has said that the first 20 minutes visiting local rivals Liverpool is ‘probably the hardest in the league.’

The Toffees have not been the only side to leave Anfield with the tail left between their legs. They were well beaten 4-0 in the Merseyside derby meeting between the two sides at the end of January, whilst Arsenal were hammered 5-1 – conceding four times in the first 20 minutes when they visited Anfield top of the table.

Martinez told TalkSport: ‘Liverpool this season play a real high intensity game. The first 20 minutes at Anfield is probably the hardest in the league to play.’

Only two sides have left Anfield with anything this season. Southampton sprang a surprise win in September whilst Aston Villa stunned Liverpool with an excellent first half in a 2-2 draw.

As tough a place as Anfield has been for sides to go this season, the Reds do not possess the best home record in the league – nor have they scored the most goals in their home matches.

Unsurprisingly, both of those honours go to Manchester City. City have scored 42 goals from their home games so far this season whilst Liverpool are the second highest scorers with 38. Their 1-0 defeat to Chelsea is the only blot on their copybook at the Etihad Stadium.

Chelsea themselves also have a better home record than Liverpool having only dropped points with two draws against West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.

Arsenal and Everton have only lost one game apiece at home, though the Toffees have dropped two more points than the Gunners. Everton lost one home game in the league throughout 2013 – that came on Boxing Day with a 1-0 defeat to Sunderland as Goodison Park has proved to be a difficult place to go.

However in terms of goals scored in the first 20 minutes of home matches, over a quarter of Liverpool's goals (10) have come in that period, compared to Manchester City's nine. Chelsea have scored five of their 28 goals at home in the first 20 minutes, whilst Arsenal have scored five goals in the opening 20 minutes at the Emirates Stadium. 

Roberto Martinez's side have scored five goals this season in the first 20 minutes at Goodison Park, whilst the other side in the top six, Tottenham have not been impressive at all at home this season, and their first twenty minutes of matches at White Hart Lane has only yielded two goals in the Premier League.

There is logic to what Roberto Martinez says on the face of it, though one could argue Liverpool's goalscoring statistic in that period is distorted by their 20 minute blitz of Arsenal last weekend, others would argue it enhances the Everton manager's point.

image: © Sanjiva

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch