LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19:  Sadio Mane (19) of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the winning goal in injury time during the Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on December 19, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

4 Key Battles as Liverpool Host Everton in Saturday's Crucial Merseyside Derby

The Merseyside derby has all the ingredients to be one of the most fiercely contested in recent years.


Liverpool have a great record against Everton in the past few seasons but Everton are in great form as of late, with Romelu Lukaku currently the most lethal striker in the Premier League.


Anything is possible in a derby, but which players hold the key to deciding the result come Saturday?

1. Joel Matip vs Romelu Lukaku

It will take every bit of cunning and skill from Liverpool's defence to stop Romelu Lukaku from scoring on Saturday.


The Belgium international has been in scintillating form as of late, scoring 10 goals in his last seven Premier League games, and it seems as if no defence can stop him hitting the back of the net.


Joel Matip has established himself as Liverpool's best centre back this year and the former Schalke man will need to be at his finest to stop Lukaku scoring a handful.

2. Roberto Firmino vs Ashley Williams

Liverpool's revolving attack is devastating at its best and Roberto Firmino has proved to be a impressive focal point.


The Brazilian has Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho supporting him and can give the best centre backs around a real tough time whenever he finds pockets of space to get shots away.


Firmino's movement will need to be watched by Ashley Williams, who is often at his best with his back against the wall but will most likely have to deal with the pace of Liverpool on the break.

3. Philippe Coutinho vs Idrissa Gueye

Coutinho still hasn't got back to his form from earlier this season and given that he has only managed one goal in his last seven Premier League, some Reds fans are beginning to become concerned.


Idrissa Gueye, on the other hand, has been consistent all season and could play a large role in frustrating Liverpool's chief creator Coutinho.


His tireless running and defensive contribution have made Everton tough to beat at times, but shutting down Coutinho will be the most effective way for the Toffees to come away from Anfield with some points.

4. Adam Lallana vs Ross Barkley

The two England internationals play large roles in their respective midfields and both are in good form going into the derby on Saturday.


Barkley is arguably playing better than ever, having rose to the challenge laid down by manager Ronald Koeman earlier this season, and has registered a goal and five assists in his last nine Premier League appearances.


Lallana may have missed an open goal in Liverpool's draw at Manchester City but he looked sharp during the international break and will be looking to outdo his Three Lions teammate on Saturday.