Everton’s expected starting line-up for Liverpool derby - with Rafa Benitez making big Anthony Gordon decision

Rafa Benitez’s side are aiming to snap their poor form and hope a Merseyside derby win can put them back on the right road.

<p>Everton manager Rafa Benitez. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)</p>

Everton manager Rafa Benitez. Picture: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Everton head into the Merseyside derby against Liverpool on the back of a woeful run of results.

The Toffees have won just once in their past 10 games and performance levels have dropped markedly.

Rafa Benitez's side fell to a meek 1-0 loss at Brentford on Sunday, with travelling supporters left irate at the final whistle.

In contrast, Liverpool have won their previous three games and thrashed Southampton 4-0 on Saturday.

However, the Blues have a fine record against their bitter rivals at Goodison Park.

Everton have only last one of their past eight meetings on their own patch and currently hold the bragging rights after a 2-0 win at Anfield in February.

Andros Townsend in action during Everton’s loss at Brentford. Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Benitez will be wary he needs to get his team and tactics spot on if he's to thwart his former club.

Here's how we think the home side will line-up this evening.

Goalkeeper and defence

With Yerry Mina still injured, there seems no reason why Benitez will change things at the back.

Brentford didn't create all that many chances and there are encouraging signs Ben Godfrey is getting back to his best after a tough start to the campaign.

Lucas Digne also offered more of an attacking threat down the left flank.


The Frenchman got higher up the pitch and took up advanced positions in the second half. That ensured Everton could dominate the ball more frequently and his energy could be fundamental.

Allan has started every league game so far this season and there seems no reason why he won't again, although Fabian Delph is an option to come into a three-man engine room.

However, Benitez will more than likely stick with two banks of four.

Andros Townsend will get a taste of his maiden Merseyside derby on the right flank.

And surely Demarai Gray has to get the same experience on the opposite wing.

Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure battles for the ball at Brentford. Picture: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

He was only fit enough to come off the bench at Brentford because of an adductor issue but pepped Everton up markedly by whipping in several dangerous crosses.

That will mean Alex Iwobi drops out of the team.

Up front

Richarlison is back available for the Toffees after serving a one-match suspension.

You can envisage the Brazilian setting the tone by providing the energy and vigour that's going to be needed.

However, Richarlison must avoid a sending off like in this fixture last term.

Salomon Rondon still awaits his maiden Everton goal. However, the general consensus was that he improved at Brentford and went close with a first-half chance.

Having a more natural centre-forward like Richarlison playing off him could bring further out of the Venezuela international.

But if Benitez wants to lift the crowd, which will be key, then handing homegrown forward Anthony Gordon a second taste of the derby is a serious option.

Gordon will no doubt run himself into the ground and fly into challenges that will spark reactions from those in the stands.

It's one for Benitez to ponder - but the more experienced Rondon might just get the nod.

Everton's predicted starting line-up

Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Townsend, Allan, Doucoure, Gray, Richarlison, Rondon.