For 68 minutes at Eastlands last weekend, Everton were successfully holding one of the Premier League title favourites although David Moyes’ team evertually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat.
What was noticeable about the match against Manchester City was that the Toffees had no outlet in attack, with Tim Cahill having to plough a lone furrow in attack and it appears that the Australian is struggling to be fit for Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
This is not the news that Everton supporters want to hear ahead of one of the biggest games of the season although the Blues took four points from their arch-rivals last term and can be backed at 2/1 (bet365 – £200 free bets) to clinch victory this weekend.
Cahill’s absence would surely see Louis Saha return to the team and the Frenchman is 15/2 (Paddy Power – £100 free betting) to score the opening goal of the game – it would also be his first goal of the new season.
Saha has barely featured all term although there is little doubting the former Manchester United player’s class when he is fully fit. Alternatively, Apostolos Vellios could be a risk worth taking.
Kenny Dalglish also has selection dilemmas as he looks to pick a team that can start winning on the road after defeats against Stoke and Tottenham. The loss at White Hart Lane was a heavy one although Everton don’t carry the same scoring threat as Spurs, with Liverpool available at 6/4 to claim their second away victory of the Premier League season.
Dalglish might not be able to resist giving Steven Gerrard his first start of the campaign in such an important match, while Andy Carroll might also get the nod in attack, with the £35 million man available at 7/1 (Ladbrokes) to open the scoring and silence some of his critics.