At the back of an unusual defeat to Aston Villa away from home, Liverpool travel to Goodison Park to face their Merseyside rivals, Everton, tomorrow. The Reds will be eager to bounce back from their early defeat in the season but face a resurgent Everton side that has improved significantly under Carlo Ancelotti.
During the summer transfer window, the former Napoli manager reinforced his squad by bringing in James Rodriguez, Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, amongst others. These new signings have returned Ancelotti's faith and adapted well to their manager's style of play.
For the upcoming clash between current league leaders and last season's Premier League champions, five battles could decide the result of the fixture.
#5 Lucas Digne vs Mohamed Salah
Despite the poor result at Villa Park two weeks ago, it was Mohamed Salah who stood out amongst his team-mates. The Egyptian international netted two goals for the Reds to continue his good goalscoring form. If he scores tomorrow, it will be Salah's 100th goal for the club in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Lucas Digne has also found his form under the Italian manager and started all Premier League matches since June. Adopting a similar style of play as Andy Robertson, the left-back enjoys delivering crosses into the box and often advances into the final third to support Richarlison when Everton transition into attack. With a cross accuracy of 31% this season, Digne is proving to be one of the most influential left-backs in the league.
In the last four matches, the 27-year-old defender made an average of 2.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game. His ability to sniff out danger will be vital for the Toffees to get all three points.
#4 Richarlison vs Trent Alexander-Arnold
Regarded as one of Liverpool's most trusted and reliable players, Trent Alexander-Arnold almost always rises to the occasion. Currently, the 22-year-old has contributed to 36 assists and scored eight goals in 138 first-team appearances for the first team. However, besides his usual attacking contributions, Alexander-Arnold is expected to face a tough challenge against Richarlison.
Given that Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker is still out with a shoulder injury, the England international must now bear the responsibility of stopping Richarlison from linking up play with Rodriguez or Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The latter two are in incredible form and will look to exploit Liverpool's defensive frailties.
Similar to many of his team-mates, Richarlison has blossomed under the tutelage of Ancelotti, scoring four goals and laying two assists since the Premier League restarted in June. Although the Brazilian has never beaten the Reds, it could be time for him to step up and prove his worth on derby day.