The final game of the group stage of the European competitions is now over and the Premier League is back in focus this weekend. There are a couple of derbies to look forward to on Sunday and the one that will kick off at Anfield on a cold evening is sure to produce some fireworks.
In a game that has seen the most red-cards in the Premier League history, Liverpool welcome arch-rivals Everton, in the first Merseyside derby of this season. Both teams have had contrasting starts to their league seasons and are separated by 11 points and six league positions. However, all that is thrown out of the equation, in what will be a high-intensity encounter.
Everton’s recent trips to Anfield have not been memorable and Sam Allardyce will have plans to make it right. But Jürgen Klopp will settle for nothing less than three points, making this game all the more interesting.
Both teams have loads of quality at their disposal and there are a number of match-ups, at various positions on the field that can have a huge say in the outcome of the game. Here are three such key battles, we can relish in this tie:
Ashley Williams vs Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian international is the top goal scorer in the domestic league to date and has been in devastating form recently. He has time and again broken defences down with diagonal runs into the box, which will mean that he will have to be marked by an ageing Ashley Williams.
If Salah gets on his bike, there is only one winner here so the former Swansea man should make sure that the Egyptian is not given a chance to run at his backline. His experience will surely help but Williams will surely be nervous already, having to face Salah this weekend.
Jonjoe Kenny vs Philippe Coutinho
The Brazil magician is fresh off a hat-trick in the mid-week and is the most effective player in the Liverpool squad at the moment. His movement, skills and vision are just getting better by the day and he should be given close attention for Everton to frustrate Liverpool.
Everton seem well equipped as Coutinho will be up against young Jonjoe Kenny, who does not seem fazed by the occasion. The 20-year old is Everton’s best defender this season and if he can keep Coutinho quite, Everton have a shot at a point or more in this tie.
Wayne Rooney vs Dejan Lovren
With seven goals and an assist this season already, Rooney is Everton’s most productive goalscorer this season and has been in decent form in the last few games. He relishes games like these, could lead the line for Everton and seriously hurt Liverpool like he has done on a number of occasions in the past.
Rooney will be up against Lovren, who is actually in decent form and if he can keep the Scouser quite, Everton’s attack will be reduced to grime. This battle can go a long way in deciding the result of this tie.