By Matt Farr
Liverpool favourite Dietmar Hamann believes Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles holds the all the aces ahead of Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
The two Premier League giants go head to head at Anfield at the weekend with a potential place in the top four at stake.
But Hamann has named a surprise candidate to be the difference between the two sides on Saturday, settling on Everton stopper Joel Robles, instead of the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley or Roberto Firmino.
The 26-year-old has performed well since replacing Maarten Stekelenburg as No.1 in December, and has kept four clean sheets in his last five Premier League appearances.
But Hamann’s choice is still a shock as many fans have called for Koeman to buy a new goalkeeper in the summer.
In his blog for Paddy Power, Hamann highlighted the quality of the Everton man, saying: “The Everton keeper, Joel, is the major difference between the two defences for me.
“He’s had some outstanding games and your back-four are only as good as their keeper. You can have the best defence in the world, but it only takes two or three shots on goal and with one sneaking in to have people saying, ‘oh, the defence is struggling.’
“I’ll lean towards Everton’s defence over Liverpool’s because their fullbacks (even without the injured Coleman) are better – the centre-back competition is pretty even, but Joel swings it.”
Robles will have to be at his best at Anfield on Saturday, however, is he is to record another clean sheet against one of the best attacking sides in the Premier League.
Liverpool will have been dealt a significant blow with the absence of Adam Lallana, but they still have potent goalscorers within their ranks in Firmino and Sadio Mane.
The Reds have scored a league-high 61 goals this season from their 29 matches, including six strikes from their last three games.