By Matt Bullin

Former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy has claimed Everton striker Romelu Lukaku must “rough up” the Chelsea defenders to earn their respect.

The Toffees welcome league leaders Chelsea to Goodison Park this Sunday, and Lukaku will face his former club, who have been heavily linked with signing him.

Although Lukaku has waved away these claims thus far, Murphy claims that the 23-year-old should use the game as an opportunity to impress Chelsea’s players, so if he is to return to Chelsea he will already have their respect.

Writing in his Evening Standard column, Murphy said: “If he is to go back to Stamford Bridge, he will walk back in with a little more respect if he can score a couple of goals in this match and rough up their defenders.

“He will also put himself in a better place for transfer negotiations as he will have given Chelsea even more reason to try to sign him.”

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Lukaku currently leads the race for the Premier League golden boot with 24 goals from his 33 appearances.

The Belgian has also provided six assists in the league, as well as netting once in one FA Cup game earlier in the campaign.

The 23-year-old made only 15 appearances without scoring in his previous three year spell, before he was sent on loan to West Brom and Everton, before signing permanently with the Toffees in 2014.

If Lukaku can help Everton to victory against Chelsea on Sunday they will close the gap on Arsenal and Man United in their quest for a top six finish.

Meanwhile if Chelsea come away from Goodison Park with all three points they will extend their lead at the top of the league to seven points, at least for a few hours until Spurs face Arsenal.

In other Everton news, the Toffees have been installed as favourites to sign this prolific Premier League striker.

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