Liverpool and Everton will have selection dilemmas ahead of the Merseyside derby, according to John Aldridge, as both managers are facing more important games in the coming weeks. The clash between the two rivals is always a big game, one which both teams want to win, but the Toffees are preparing for an FA Cup semi-final clash against Manchester United on Saturday (23 April), while the Reds have a Europa League semi-final encounter against Villarreal next Thursday (28 April).
Roberto Martinez is likely to be cautious and rest some of his key players with a view to fielding a full strength team for the FA Cup clash. The Toffees are not having a great season in the Premier League and despite Romelu Lukaku's goal scoring exploits they are currently in 11th place. The Spanish manager will likely treat the cup competition as priority and focus all his attention on beating the Red Devils and booking a place in the final.
Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, is going into his first Merseyside derby and will be keen to make a winning start. The former Borussia Dortmund manager, however, will have one eye firmly on the away clash against the LA Liga side in the Europa League. The German is no stranger to making modifications when needed after making 10 changes to the team that beat Bournemouth on Sunday (17 April).
"Wednesday's game is a strange one in that yes it's a big one, but there are bigger things on the horizon for both sides. Liverpool have their eyes on another European trophy, while Everton know that their season will be defined not by what happens at Anfield, but at Wembley on Saturday," Aldridge wrote in his column for the Liverpool Echo.
"That, then, makes the team selection very interesting for both sides. From an Everton perspective, Roberto Martinez is under pressure from supporters. They're not happy with him, and he needs results – and quickly. But at the same time, Wembley is their season. Can they afford to get an injury to a Lukaku or a Barkley at Anfield?" the Reds legend explained.
"For Jurgen Klopp, he seems to have a decent number of players fit and firing. That will help them, because he will be able to make changes if he wishes, without it being too much of a problem."
"I think we'll see a mix and match selection in the next two league games. I think we'll be stronger against Everton than against Newcastle, but Jurgen will utilise the squad. And as Liverpool have shown in their last two league games, that need not cause them too many issues," he added.