Liverpool can’t afford to let James Rodriguez isolate Joe Gomez

Liverpool can’t afford to let James Rodriguez isolate Joe Gomez.

For me, the play of Adrian, Gomez, and Jordan Henderson will be keys to this match to keep a keen eye on. They all will need superb performances here if the Reds intend to take all three points.

I expect Ancelotti to target Gomez and try to get him isolated with Richarlison and the other Toffees forward minded players, Theo Walcott, James Rodriguez.

This is how I see the starting 11 lining up at this point with a couple of days training before the big derby day.

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Adrian in goal, with Andrew Robertson, Joe Gomez, and Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold shaping up the defensive back line. The outfield players here are all returning from international duties and their form should be good to go.

Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah are a lock with Firmino, in particular, returning from a fine showing for Brazil where he scored two and assisted on another.

The Reds will be looking for Bobby to get off his first strike of the new campaign and on the road against Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton should be the perfect time; his confidence and form having improved over the international break.

The midfield should see the return of captain Henderson with the addition of Thiago and Fabinho in the no. 6 defensive holding role.

Takumi Minamino, Diogo Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri also had good outings for their respective national sides and will be waiting in the wings to sub the forward line if necessary.

Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner, and Curtis Jones are likely subs for the midfield, with Naby Keita isolated from his positive test for COVID.

Kostas Tsimikas, Neco Williams, and Joel Matip are likely subs for the defensive back line while Caoimhin Kelleher is in line to sub Adrian if necessary between the posts.

There has been some speculation that Jurgen Klopp has been working on a new formation, possibly a 4-2-3-1, and I would not be surprised if Klopp were to employ this formation in this tie.

Never underestimate Ancelotti as he is a quality manager and will be very tactically sound against the Reds. He is one of the most successful managers in the world against Klopp and Liverpool the past three campaigns to include his time at Napoli in Champions League.

Look for a hard fought, solid showing from Liverpool with an intense high line, high pressure free flowing style. I see a wide open affair here with lots of ball possession and patience from Klopp and the Reds. If they can manage their passing game through the middle of the park the way the did against Arsenal they should be good.

If they get caught out in the midfield with counters and transitions, or ridiculous turnovers in their defensive third that we witnessed at Villa Park it could well be a long evening for Klopp and the Reds.

Words by Paul Landwehr.