Romelu Lukaku is a key to Everton's hopes of toppling Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. Picture courtesy of AP/dailymail.co.uk
Everton must overcome a run of outs at Anfield if it is to cause a boil-over in the 222nd Merseyside derby against Liverpool . In recent seasons, the Toffees haven’t been able to win at Anfield at all. In their past 13 trips there, they’ve managed just seven draws, whilst suffering six losses.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez has some selection headaches ahead of a clash which could determine which of the Merseysiders finishes in the top-four and plays Champions League. Loan signing, Lacina Traore, is recovering from a hamstring injury and has had very limited training with his new team-mates. Doubts also persist over defenders Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman, as well as midfielders Ross Barkley and Steven Pienaar. Everton goes into this encounter after a 4-0 away victory over League One side Stevenage in the fourth round of the FA Cup
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has a decision to make over whether to include midfielder Joe Allen after he missed the weekend’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth in the FA Cup because of a hamstring injury. Jon Flanagan is set to start after coming back as a substitute at the weekend. Luis Suarez will definitely be there. The Uruguay international has scored in three of his four Premier League derby appearances, including one in the 3-3 draw at Goodison Park in November. While Suarez has 22 goals in total this season, Daniel Sturridge has been a good foil, finding the net 11 times in 14 League appearances.
There is no doubt this clash will be fiercely contested. More red cards (20) have been dished-out in the Merseyside derby than any other fixture in EPL history. Reds captain Steven Gerrard loves the local showdown. He’s netted seven Premier League goals against the Dogs of War - the most of any player in Merseyside derbies. On the flip side, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in as many Premier League appearances against Liverpool.
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