Pitchside Europe

Who should Liverpool pick against Everton?

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will have limited options when selecting his starting-line up to face Everton this evening, largely due to the club’s current injury problems.

Rodgers' side are missing defenders Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho, Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique and midfielder Lucas Leiva. Meanwhile, Everton could have up to nine players absent at Anfield on Tuesday.

The Reds boss says this could mean the Premier League match fails to live up to the standard set by the 3-3 draw between the sides at Goodison Park earlier this season.

Victory for Liverpool would see them move four points clear of the Toffees, but a win for their opponents would see them concede their superiority in the Premier League table.

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet will return between the sticks after being rested for the club’s weekend FA Cup win over Bournemouth. The Belgian keeper has recently come under criticism following a series of errors that have ultimately cost Liverpool in defence. Yet, Brendan Rodgers will pick the 25-year-old in goal in the hope he can recapture his early season form. This term he has kept six clean sheets.

Right-back: Martin Kelly

Kelly Pass Accuracy - PL 2013/14

Martin Kelly featured at right-back as the Reds overcame Bournemouth and he could be utilised in this position once again due to the absence of Glen Johnson. Kelly has featured just three times in the Premier League this season, appearing as a substitute on each occasion. Still, he has registered an 84% pass accuracy and completed 67% of his attempted tackles. He will have the difficult task of defending against Kevin Mirallas, but perhaps this will provide the perfect opportunity to prove himself as a capable first team member.

Centre-back: Martin Skrtel

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With Mamadou Sakho and Daniel Agger both unavailable, Rodgers is forced to continue with Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure in the centre of defence. Skrtel is likely to be handed the task of marking Everton frontman Romelu Lukaku, a role that will prove vital if Liverpool wish to gain anything from this match. The Slovakian has been the Reds' highest performing defender this campaign, registering a performance score of 641 points. He has averaged an impressive 14 defensive actions per match – more than any other player in the English top flight.

Centre-back: Kolo Toure

Toure Duel Success - PL 2013/14

Kolo Toure’s experience at the back should prove a huge positive ahead of such an important fixture for the Reds. The Ivorian’s early season form has faltered slightly, however he remains a valuable option for Rodgers. In 14 appearances he has won 69% of his attempted tackles, while contributing with an average of nine defensive actions per match.

Left-back: Jon Flanagan

Youngster Jon Flanagan looks set for a return to the first team following a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action since before Christmas. Aly Cissokho has struggled for form at left-back, and with Jose Enrique still at least a month away from full fitness, Rodgers will be happy to have the 21-year-old back in the side. He impressed greatly against Everton in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, earning himself praise from the players and fans alike, alongside an unlikely man of the match award. He has attempted nine and won eight tackles overall, while making three clearances and a further four interceptions. He’ll be hoping for a repeat performance this evening.

Defensive midfield: Joe Allen

Rodgers is hopeful Joe Allen will be sufficiently recovered from a hamstring problem to bolster a thin Liverpool midfield. The Reds struggled when playing with a two-man central pairing against Aston Villa and it seems inconceivable that Rodgers would use the same tactic against a strong Everton side. Allen has appeared just 11 times for the Reds this season but he is yet to score a Premier League goal during his time at Anfield. His most memorable miss came against this evening’s opposition in the two sides' last meeting and Liverpool fans will be hoping he has put this moment firmly in the past.

Central midfield: Steven Gerrard

Gerrard Chances Created - PL 2013/14

Steven Gerrard has found the net eight times in 30 appearances against the old enemy, including the fixture's first hat-trick since Ian Rush, which the Liverpool skipper managed in 2012. At 33 years of age he continues to offer quality and experience to the Liverpool team and having made 18 appearances this season, he has scored on five occasions whilst fashioning 40 goalscoring chances for his team-mates. A victory this evening will mean more to him than anyone other player on the pitch, the veteran midfielder is a true Anfield legend.

Central midfield: Jordan Henderson

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Jordan Henderson has been a revelation this season, excelling due to his new-found sense of confidence. In the past year, and this season in particular, he has been getting forward frequently – creating chances and freeing up space for Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. He has fashioned 42 key passes, assisting six goals in total – more than Gerrard, Coutinho and Sterling – and he is the only Liverpool outfield player to have played in every single Premier League fixture this season. This is perhaps the greatest indicator of his importance to Rodgers' side.

Right wing: Raheem Sterling

Expect Rodgers to rest Philippe Coutinho as he opts to start Raheem Sterling on the right wing. The Brazilian has started 10 of the last 11 Liverpool games and has looked a little jaded in recent weeks. Sterling will be given plenty of opportunity to attack, playing in front of a solid three-man Liverpool midfield, and he will be expected to offer creative support to both Sturridge and Luis Suarez – so far this season he has made 26 key passes.

Left wing: Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez have been incredible this season, creating a formidable partnership which has resulted in 33 league goals having been scored between them. The England striker has made 14 appearances in total, scoring 11 times himself, with a conversion rate of 26.2%. He came on as a substitute in the last meeting with Everton to net an equaliser in the 89th minute. His precise header earned the club a well-earned point following a dramatic game of football.

Striker: Luis Suarez

Suarez Goals Scored - PL 2013/14

Luis Suarez is the most deadly Premier League striker at this moment in time and he will pose a huge threat to Everton. The Uruguayan leads the league’s scoring charts with 22 goals despite missing the first six games of the season and he is also Liverpool’s most creative player, having fashioned 50 chances in total. When Liverpool and Everton last battled on November 23rd, he was able to secure a place on the scoresheet and he will be looking to do the same this evening. As is the case every time he plays, Suarez could prove influential in this fixture.