Liverpool v Everton: Key battles

JOE GOMEZ
JOE GOMEZPHOTOS: REUTERS
YANNICK BOLASIE
YANNICK BOLASIEPHOTOS: REUTERS

ROBERTO FIRMINO V ASHLEY WILLIAMS

Firmino should be fresher than most after being benched at Burnley. The Brazilian has nine goals in his last nine starts. His chances of adding to that tally may depend on who his supply line - perhaps Adam Lallana, after his first start of the season on Monday - will be, as well as the marking of Williams, who has excelled under Sam Allardyce.

EMRE CAN V WAYNE ROONEY

Rooney's goal last month was his first in Merseyside derbies. Set pieces may be his best chance of a second if Everton sit deep and, if Idrissa Gueye is still injured, he may have more defensive duties. Can will occupy the holding role for Liverpool with Jordan Henderson out in what may be his last Merseyside derby as he could go in the summer with his deal running out at the end of the season.

JOE GOMEZ V YANNICK BOLASIE

If Everton have been too dull and too ineffectual of late, having lost their last two games, Bolasie could be the remedy. He brings pace and trickery after returning from a long-term injury that he feared could end his career. Gomez is likely to return. Virgil van Dijk's arrival means a promising defender's immediate future is set to be at right-back.

Richard Jolly

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2018, with the headline 'Liverpool v Everton: Key battles'. Print Edition | Subscribe