Everton return to Premier League action tonight, hoping to build on their recent success at Goodison Park with a famous away victory over bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield.

With neither team in particularly sparkling form, this could mark a fine opportunity for Sean Dyche and Jurgen Klopp to kickstart their sides’ respective seasons with the all-important run-in looming.

The Toffees could employ a couple of changes given the relative weakness of tonight’s foes in comparison to Arsenal, who they beat most recently, but the fundamentals will remain in place to try and strangle the Reds’ midfield.

With some small injuries to contend with and having had an extra week drilling the players, the visitors – who only have the short trip across Stanley Park to make – will surely arrive full of hope that they can claim another scalp.

What could Everton’s XI look like against Liverpool?

Pickford; Coleman, Tarkowski, Coady, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Doucoure, Gueye, Onana, Gray; Simms

Dyche is expected to make two changes from the side which recently hindered the Gunners’ title charge.

Jordan Pickford will remain in goal, having earned his first clean sheet in the league since late October in that aforementioned win.

He sits behind an unchanged back four, who will have another arduous task silencing a threadbare but ever-potent Liverpool front three most likely containing Mohamed Salah. Although the Egyptian has been out of sorts lately, not scoring in the league since Boxing Day, he does boast five goal contributions in eight Merseyside derbies.

Last week’s match-winner James Tarkowski will partner Conor Coady, who thought he had scored the winner in the reverse fixture last September before VAR cut his celebrations short. That pair will be flanked by Seamus Coleman and Vitaliy Mykolenko.

Where tonight’s game could be won or lost is in the midfield engine room, and after Everton’s latest performance, it would be foolish to alter the personnel there. Idrissa Gueye, Abdoulaye Doucoure and in particular Amadou Onana excelled as they silenced Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka.

They must continue that tireless form into tonight’s clash, which could be integral in allowing the Toffees to silence Anfield.

This gives way to the first change which could be employed, as Demarai Gray returns to replace Dwight McNeil on the left flank. 

Having been ruled out of the Arsenal clash due to a minor ailment, Dyche will surely have whipped the 26-year-old into shape in preparation for this match. As a clinical and decisive asset, his inclusion could be an attempt to exploit Liverpool’s defensive frailties in behind the full-backs with his blistering speed.

Meanwhile, Alex Iwobi will offer defensive security on the opposite flank.

That brings us to the main omission, as it was suggested that Dominic Calvert-Lewin would seriously struggle to be fit after feeling discomfort in his hamstring. Injuries seem set to yet again plague the 25-year-old, who last season was branded an “Everton hero” by journalist Adam Jones.

Therefore, it leaves an opportunity for young Ellis Simms to step up in his absence.

Expected to be preferred over Neal Maupay due to his hulking physique, his main role will be to perform in a similar manner to how he had done at Sunderland – being the “nuisance” that journalist Phil Smith lauded him.

Chances could be sparse for Everton tonight, but if Simms can disrupt the Reds’ back four enough to create chaos, then he will have done his job.


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