Liverpool are back in action tonight when they welcome Sean Dyche’s Everton for the 1607th Merseyside derby. All joking aside, both sides will be keen to take something from this game, with Liverpool lying a lowly 10th whilst Everton sit 18th. Here’s the predicted XI for the Reds.

For a match preview, you can head over here.

The manager in his pre-match press conference confirmed Diogo Jota was the only one of the returning contingent likely to be involved in the matchday squad. It was also revealed that Thiago was struggling with a hip injury. The 31 year old has now been confirmed to be out for at least a month.

In terms of selection, the manager doesn’t really have much room to manoeuvre. Most of his charges are off form so it’s slim pickings really in terms of any personnel that might be banging on the door for an inclusion in the side.

In goal, Alisson Becker will keep his place. The Brazilian stopper has been overworked this season as a combination of a watered down press by the frontline, a non-existent midfield and a hapless defence has left him exposed time and again.

He’s had to make 68 saves already in the league this term, more than he registered in the entire title winning campaign of 2019/20 (58 saves). He will be hoping for a quieter night this time round and a third successive clean sheet in the Merseyside derby.

In the backline, the manager has a decision to make in the heart of defence. Matip and Gomez were both atrocious at Molineux but with Van Dijk not yet ready to return, Nat Phillips is the only realistic alternative. His aeriel prowess could be key against an Everton side full of height and physicality.

Phillips hasn’t featured since a cameo against Wolves in the FA Cup last month but he rarely let’s anyone down the few times he gets a chance, and I doubt anyone will be worried if his name is indeed on the teamsheet. He should come in for Gomez, adding a bit of presence to the side. Trent and Robertson will complete the backline.

The injury to Thiago means the manager has to break up the midfield trio he’s utilised in each of the last four games. The skipper is likely to come in for the Spanish international in the only change to the engine room. Bajcetic has been the most consistent outfield player lately and deserves to keep his place.

Naby Keita could also keep his place if the manager resists the temptation to go back to the ‘Elliott in midfield’ experiment. Everton have physicality in midfield with the likes of Gueye, Onana and Doucoure. They must be matched and contained. For that reason James Milner could even be handed a surprise start in midfield.

In attack, we could see a few changes in the coming weeks as Firmino and Jota get back up to speed, but for the meantime, Gakpo, Darwin and Salah will get another opportunity to start together. Jota will have to make do with a place on the bench after such a long time out.

Predicted team:

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Phillips, Robertson, Bajcetic, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Darwin, Gakpo.

Subs: Kelleher, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Fabinho, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jota, Elliott.


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