The 237th Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton will take place this Saturday at Goodison Park. The upcoming clash is perhaps the first time in years that the two teams are evenly matched, at least in recent form, as Everton are top of the table in the league and Liverpool are three points behind them after their shock loss against Aston Villa.
Everton will be looking to get their first win in the Merseyside derby since 2010, when they won 2-0. Liverpool, meanwhile, will hope to banish their nightmare of a game against Villa and get back to where they belong on the table.
The Toffees have some quality players in their squad, and have started the new season in fine fashion. It would be a massive statement of intent if they beat Liverpool come Saturday.
Let’s take a look at the 3 key battles between Liverpool and Everton on Saturday:
Everton vs Liverpool: 3 Key Battles To Watch Out For
#1 Mohamed Salah vs Lucas Digne
Egyptian attacker Mohamed Salah has been the defending Premier League champions’ best attacker so far this season as he has five goals in three appearances. He looked like the player most likely to trouble Villa last time around, and the Reds will look to him once again to fire them past Everton.
The pressure will be lesser on him this weekend as Sadio Mane is set to return to the Liverpool team after his absence due to Covid19. Salah will be up against one of the league’s finest full-backs in Lucas Digne, who is quick, strong, and can cause problems.
Digne is one of the best left-backs in the league alongside Andy Robertson, and will look to impress against the Reds.
#2 Dominic Calvert-Lewin vs Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk had, perhaps, had his worst game in a Liverpool shirt last time around, as Jack Grealish and co. ran Liverpool’s defence ragged. Van Dijk and the rest of the Liverpool defence may be warier of balls played in behind them, but they have a different type of threat to the one they faced against Villa.
Liverpool not only have to face quick full-backs and wingers, but also a strong, physical and in-form striker in Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The Englishman is the leading goal-scorer in the Premier League this season and will be a handful for van Dijk.
Calvert-Lewin has improved manifold under Ancelotti as he is more confident in front of goal and doesn’t take too many touches to put away his chances.
#3 Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Richarlison
Liverpool’s defence was exposed last time around as Villa target the right side of the Reds’ defence, particularly the space between Joe Gomez at centre-back and Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back. They will have to contend with another pacey and skilful winger in Richarlison on Saturday.
The champions will have to ensure that they don’t give Richarlison time and space to run at them, which should be Alexander-Arnold’s job. This will be a tasty battle between two young and attack-minded players.