Liverpool v Everton: Three key battles

Matip/Lovren v Lukaku

Everton’s biggest threat to the Liverpool defence will be Romelu Lukaku on Saturday afternoon. The Belgium international has scored nine times in his last six games in the Premier League. He’s the Premier League’s leading goal-scorer with a return of 21 goals in 28 games – too. Liverpool have struggled against powerful strikers in the past and Lukaku has form when it comes to Merseyside derbies. The 23-year-old has netted four times against Liverpool since his permanent move to Everton in 2013.

Barkley v Milner

There is a suggestion that Alberto Moreno could come in at left-back, which would see James Milner shuffle into midfield in the absence of Adam Lallana. Either way, Ross Barkley will look to exploit Lallana’s absence. The England international has rediscovered some of his confidence under Everton boss Ronald Koeman. Barkley has scored one goal and has made five assists in his last 10 Premier League games – and as a local lad, he will be eager to leave his mark on the derby.

Coutinho v Gueye

As mentioned above, Lallana will miss the Merseyside derby after the attacking midfielder picked up a hip injury during England duty. The 28-year-old has often proven Liverpool’s source of inspiration up front, especially during Philippe Coutinho’s patchy form following his return from an ankle problem. The Brazilian will need to step up in the absence of Lallana but will come up against impressive Idrissa Gueye and Gareth Barry in the Everton midfield.

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