Everton will make the short trip across the city to play their most fierce rivals at Anfield in the Merseyside derby tomorrow afternoon, and Frank Lampard’s side finds themselves in an extremely vulnerable position.
When the game kicks off, Burnley will have already played their fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor, and should they take all three points, Everton will drop into the relegation zone if they do not beat their title-challenging rivals.
Liverpool have lost just once in their last 22 Premier League meetings with Everton – winning 11 and drawing nine – and with the Kopites battling with Manchester City for the league title, it will be a hugely difficult challenge for Lampard and his team.
With that in mind, the Toffees boss must select a team that has proven to be reliable, can offer a threat and perform to the highest quality to ensure they can take something from the game.
As a result, Abdoulaye Doucoure should be selected to start the clash.
The 29-year-old has been a consistent threat in the league this season, with four assists and two goals scored, creating two big chances and being successful in the majority of his dribbles (55%).
The £22.5m-rated man has also been impressive in a defensive capacity, making an average of 2.3 tackles, 0.8 interceptions and 1.1 clearances per league game this term, proving he is a complete player in the centre of the pitch who can cause problems at both ends.
Indeed, the £75k-per-week Doucoure was hailed a “complete” midfielder by former Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti, with the Italian stating: “Abdoulaye is a fantastic midfielder, a complete midfielder. He can defend well. He is a box-to-box midfielder. He can bring energy to the club and a different quality.”
The Frenchman was initially a favoured player under Lampard, playing the full 90 minutes over six games, but has recently not seen as much game time – playing just six minutes in the victory over Man United and being on the bench against Leicester City.
However, there is no doubt that Lampard must unleash Doucoure – who was dubbed a “bundle of energy” by Joe Parkinson – against Liverpool tomorrow afternoon, as he would certainly improve the Toffees’ chances of causing an upset at Anfield.