English football will revisit one of it’s most heated rivalries when Liverpool host Everton in the English Premier League on Saturday in the latest instalment of the Merseyside Derby and with the sides struggling with injuries, there are plenty of selection dilemmas for both managers.
The Reds are six points ahead of their arch rivals and a win at Anfield will, in all probability, finish off the Toffees’ chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
However, this is the 50th Meryseyside Derby of the English Premier League era and the sides will be fired up on the momentous occasion as they seek to get one over the other.
No Adam Lallana, and if recent reports are true, then captain Jordan Henderson will miss out as well. So Jurgen Klopp has a bit of a reshuffle to do in midfield and who he brings in Lallana’s stead will prove key. Will he change his 4-3-3 formation to accommodate the talented but injury prone Daniel Sturridge up top or will he bring in the industrious Divock Origi?
Both players have their unique skill sets, but while Klopp has a midfield/forward line selection headache, his defence aren't faring quite well either. All of them are fit, but none seem to be up to the mark from a defensive standpoint. So with the Premier League’s top-scorer (Romelu Lukaku) visiting Anfield, Klopp may have to shift James Milner back in midfield in a bid to protect his defence.
The home team aren't short on firepower themselves as their front three of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino should have a field day against Everton’s injury-wrecked defence come Saturday.
If Klopp has injury issues, his opposite Ronald Koeman would argue he is worse off as during the dreaded international break, he lost two defenders: Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori.
Coleman’s loss, in particular, is a big blow as the marauding full-back’s presence gave the Toffes an extra dimension in attack and as a result, Liverpool might wreak havoc on the that flank.
Koeman will take heart from the fact that the Reds midfield will have a makeshift feel to it and if Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye can choke the home side’s supply, Everton just might nick this.
In great form at the moment, Lukaku will be a marked man on Saturday as the visitors hopes will be riding on him as he remains a focal point of all Everton attacks. The burly Belgian, however, can’t do everything on his own. And a coming-of-age game is required from the supremely talented but inconsistent Ross Barkley if Everton are to clinch three points
Schneiderlin is a slight doubt but should recover in time for the short trip. Yannnick Bolasie, James McCarthy and Mo Besic remain unavailable.
Super Stat: This is the 196th league game between the clubs, with the Reds having won 75 to the Blues' 57.