Everton v Liverpool key questions: Can Michael Keane stop Sadio Mane and will Reds rotate?
By James Walker-Roberts
Last Updated: 07/04/18 11:47am
Sadio Mane has scored on his last two visits to Goodison Park; will he make it three in a row on Saturday? Or will the Toffees keep him at bay?
And will Jurgen Klopp rotate ahead of the second leg of Liverpool's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City next Tuesday?
We look at some of the key questions ahead of the Merseyside derby on Saturday, live on Sky Sports…
Can Keane stop Mane?
With top-scorer Mohamed Salah potentially out due to injury, Liverpool may look to the in-form Mane to provide the spark on Saturday.
The 25-year-old is enjoying his best scoring season for Liverpool, with 16 goals in all competitions and seven in his last eight appearances, including one against Man City on Wednesday. He has also netted three times in seven appearances against Everton.
Keane, meanwhile, will be appearing in his first Merseyside derby if he lines up in Everton's defence.
The defender has started the last eight games - his best run since the beginning of the season when he started 11 in a row - and team-mate Phil Jagielka recently revealed how he is trying to help Keane become a "boss at the back".
"He is quite a quiet lad and I have openly said, 'Shout at me, shout at someone else, no one is taking anything personally, we need to know where everyone is', and I think that is something he has in him," said Jagielka.
"I am encouraging him to be himself and be a boss at the back - whether you are a loud person on or off the pitch, when you are on the pitch you need to pass on information."
Keane will certainly need to be on "boss" form if he is going to stop Mane on Saturday.
Can Everton end derby misery?
To put it simply, Everton have a terrible recent record against Liverpool.
The Toffees have won only one of their last 22 league meetings and are winless in their last 14 dating back to October 2010. The Reds are also on their longest unbeaten run against their cross-city rivals (eight games).
Everton might, though, take some hope from their two previous matches this season - one in the league and one in the FA Cup.
The league encounter finished 1-1 at Anfield while Liverpool needed a late winner from Virgil van Dijk to secure a 2-1 win in the FA Cup clash earlier this year.
Will Klopp rotate?
"Being in international competition should not cause you problems. It should be something good, and not cause you problems."
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp the derby on Saturday comes at a difficult time sandwiched as it is between two legs of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City.
With a top-four spot in the Premier League almost secured, might Klopp rotate against Everton? And if so, to what extent?
After such a blistering display in the first half against City on Wednesday, there were Liverpool players that looked to be tiring as the game wore on. However, wholesale changes seem unlikely in a game that the Reds will not want to lose.
How do Everton improve shot struggles?
Since Sam Allardyce took over at Everton in November, the Toffees have had 156 shots, which is the second-lowest in the Premier League in that period. They have also created the second-fewest chances, and faced the second-most 278 shots.
Those do not appear to be numbers for long-term success.
Allardyce has occasionally changed things in a bid to improve the situation - such as unsuccessfully starting Morgan Schneiderlin and Wayne Rooney in midfield against Manchester City last time out - but so far he does not appear to have struck upon a solution.
With Gylfi Sigurdsson out and Idrissa Gueye returning from injury, it will be intriguing to see how the hosts set up on Saturday.
Can Everton finally crack a top-six side?
Everton's record against the top six at home this season does not make for pretty reading: four defeats, one draw and 13 goals conceded.
In each of the last six seasons the Toffees have beaten at least one of the top six at home. But this is their last opportunity this season.
The manner of the Manchester City defeat last weekend particularly frustrated some fans, with former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe telling the Liverpool Echo that it made it "embarrassing to be an Evertonian".
"Sunday was the worst I've ever been as an Evertonian, as a supporter. The performance, rather than the result, affected me that much," he added.
Against City, who have swept all before them this season, there might be some excuses for Everton's underwhelming display, but there is no doubt that much better will be expected against Liverpool.
Watch Everton v Liverpool live on Sky Sports from 11.30am on Saturday
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