The Sean Dyche era couldn’t have gotten off to a better start by beating – and outplaying - the league leaders with a stellar performance last week.
But he couldn’t go and win at Anfield, could he?
If he does, many of us will be wondering if Mr Dyche walks on water.
The bad news is that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is “touch and go, at best” for this one due to a recurring hamstring issue.
In better news, James Garner and Ben Godfrey are back in full training, giving the Blues a few more options.
Nathan Patterson has resumed light training, but remains out, as is long-term absentee, Andros Townsend.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS LIVERPOOL
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Begovic, Lonergan,
Defenders: Keane, Mina, Godfrey (DOUBT), Tarkowski, Holgate, Coady, Mykolenko, Coleman,
Patterson (INJURED), Vinagre, Welch
Midfielders: Doucoure, Iwobi, Davies, Onana, Gueye, Garner (DOUBT), Price
Townsend (INJURY), McNeil, Mills
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin (DOUBT), Maupay, Simms
Tactics and Formation
If possible, I’m sure Sean Dyche would like to set up exactly as he did against Arsenal.
But Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the biggest question mark. And although we are of course desperate to pick up the points, it seems like a needless risk to start the big striker for this match with so many vital must-win games coming up.
The question, therefore, is who will lead the Everton line: Neal Maupay or Ellis Simms?
The majority of Blues will cry out “Simms!” But the fact that Maupay was brought on to replace DCL last week would probably hint that he’ll get the nod.
In terms of profile, Simms would be a more fitting replacement for DCL, though, and would at least give the Blues a chance of winning initial headers from long balls – something that 5’8 Maupay simply has no hope of doing against the likes of van Dijk.
But with “hard work” being Dyche’s guiding star since coming in, he may prefer Maupay for his tenacity compared to Simms’ nonchalant style of play.
Other than that, it will be the same set up as last week, with what can best be described as a 4-1-4-1 setup, leaving Gueye in a holding role as the other midfielders work box-to-box.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Seamus Coleman – 9/10
Vitaliy Mykolenko - 9/10
James Tarkowski – 9/10
Conor Coady – 9/10
Amadou Onana – 10/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye – 9/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 8/10
Alex Iwobi – 8/10
Dwight McNeil – 9/10
Neal Maupay – 6/10