Martin Keown believes Everton could face a damage-limitation exercise when they face free-scoring Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend.
The Toffees’ travel to Anfield for the first Merseyside derby of the season on Sunday, after back-to-back wins over West Ham United and newly-promoted Huddersfield Town.
However, new manager Sam Allardyce and his players will come up against a Liverpool side who have scored 15 goals in their last three matches in all competitions.
Former Toffees defender Keown is predicting a 3-0 win for the Reds on Sunday and believes the Everton defence will be in for a difficult afternoon.
“I think this is going to be a damage-limitation job for Sam Allardyce,” he told the Daily Mail.
“You have the breathtaking pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, the intelligent, gifted Roberto Firmino up top and Philippe Coutinho linking it all together.
“The likes of Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams have struggled in one-v-one situations – and these Liverpool forwards will isolate you.
“If Everton leave any space for Liverpool to run into, they will be punished.”
Keown went on to say that Allardyce might decide to play five at the back, to counter the threat posed by Salah, Mane, Firmino and Coutinho – who all scored as Liverpool swept aside Spartak Moscow 7-0 in the Champions League last night.
Everton have struggled defensively this season, conceding 28 goals in 15 Premier League games – the third-worst defensive record in the division.
In the immediate future however, Toffees boss Allardyce must turn his attention to the Europa League clash against Apollon Limassol this evening, although his side have already been eliminated from the competition.