Everton: Rafa Benitez must unleash Richarlison against Liverpool | OneFootball

Everton: Rafa Benitez must unleash Richarlison against Liverpool

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Everton will be hoping to end their seven-game winless run when they welcome locals rivals Liverpool to Goodison Park for the Merseyside Derby this evening.

A hugely underwhelming 1-0 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford over the weekend dropped the Toffees down to 14th position in the Premier League table, piling the pressure on new manager Rafa Benitez as a result.

Despite a fast start to life under the 61-year-old tactician, Everton have been struggling for some time at both ends of the pitch, scoring just four goals and conceding a whopping 13 times since their last victory on 25 September.

That run now includes a period of 295 minutes without scoring a goal after firing blanks in their last three outings against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and the Bees.

Injuries to key attacking players such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Abdoulaye Doucoure have certainly hindered Benitez’s cause, but he’ll be desperately disappointed with how the side have coped in their absence.

However, a much-needed reprieve could return to the starting lineup against Jurgen Klopp’s high-flying Reds as star forward Richarlison is once again available following suspension.

Should Richarlison start against Liverpool?

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The Brazil international was a key player for Everton last term, bagging seven goals, averaging 2.4 shots per league game and 1.8 dribbles, placing him in the top two for each metric compared to his teammates, as per WhoScored.

Richarlison’s impressive exploits earned several plaudits throughout 2020/21, including from former manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“Richarlison is a modern striker, a complete striker because he is a striker who works really hard – the physical statistics of Richarlison are really high, like a midfielder – but he has speed, and he is really clinical in the box,” said Ancelotti.

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“Fantastic with the head and clinical in front of the goalkeeper, and his movement without the ball is really good. I think he can be one of the top strikers in Europe.”

A knee injury and suspension has slowed the 24-year-old’s progression down so far this season, limiting the £90,000-per-week gem to just two goals and one assist in eight top-flight appearances.

Nevertheless, Richarlison undoubtedly contains the quality to unlock a stubborn Liverpool defence, providing Everton with their best chance of securing a positive result, meaning Benitez must unleash him this evening.

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