Everton: Darron Gibson & Arouna Kone - Out
Liverpool: Iago Aspas, Sebastian Coates & Jose Enrique - Out
The Merseyside derby tends to be a vicious game, normally with a sending off occurring at some point. Barring an uncharacteristic rash challenge from the players, I do not see the game being marred by controversial tackles, but rather a game settled by the merits of their football.
This has a lot to do with how much Liverpool, but in particular Everton have evolved. Under Moyes Everton played a more direct style of football and of course the likes of Marourane Fellaini, Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert added a lot of aggression to the team. Now that two out the three have departed and Hibbert has yet to play a minute, Everton's evolution is well under way.
Everton boast the fourth best possession retention stats in the league and they will look to put this into practice when they play Liverpool.
To bring the best out of Lukaku, Everton could lump it forward to him in hope something will happen. Due to Liverpool's weaknesses in the air and in particular Skrtel's weakness against powerful strikers, this is a tactic I expect Everton to utilize on occasion. However, they should refrain from being dependent on it. A target man is only effective when he has his teammate shadowing him, otherwise they are liable to be double teamed. The latter is currently the case with Lukaku. Despite his large frame he was only won 16 out of 50 aerial duels (2.3 per game). Additionally, his key passes and pass success rate are quite abysmal.
He has often provided chances when Suarez and Sturridge have not been on top of their game and his inclusion in today's match means Liverpool have another creative outlet and it allows Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson the chance to sit deep and minimize the risk of Everton exploiting their lack of movement the way Arsenal did.
Everton 1-1 Liverpool