Everton manager Rafa Benitez will be hoping to relieve some of the pressure that has been building in recent weeks by securing a positive result in tonight’s Merseyside Derby against Liverpool.
The Toffees have failed to claim three points since seeing off newly-promoted Norwich City at the end of September, dropping them down to 14th in the Premier League table.
A 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brentford last time out extended their current winless run to seven games, piling the pressure on Benitez following a fast start to life at the Goodison Park outfit.
Despite the disappointing result over the weekend, Everton were able to welcome key midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure back into the starting XI following an extended absence through injury.
And the 28-year-old should be joined by star forward Richarlison this time around after the Brazil international served a one-match suspension.
With that in mind, here’s how Football FanCast predicts Benitez to line up for this crucial midweek clash, with just two changes from the side that featured from the off against the Bees…
In goal, Jordan Pickford should start between the sticks once again after making a solid start to the season for both club and country, and he’ll be desperate to pick up his fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Ahead of the English shot-stopper is set to be a rather familiar back four. Yerry Mina’s injury and Mason Holgate’s suspension means Benitez is expected to stick with a defensive unit of Lucas Digne, Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane and Seamus Coleman.
But it’s in midfield where the former Valencia, Real Madrid and Inter boss will have some big decisions to make.
Demarai Gray was only fit enough to come off the substitutes bench for the defeat at the Brentford Community Stadium, yet he should take up his usual residency ahead of Anthony Gordon, Allan, Doucoure and Andros Townsend.
Gray’s return will drop the underwhelming Alex Iwobi to the bench once again after providing just two goal contributions in 11 top-flight appearances throughout 2021/22.
And upfront, the £49.5m-rated Richarlison will come in for summer signing Salomon Rondon as Benitez attempts to add some class and genuine firepower to his stuttering forward line.