Patrick Boyland: Everton should drop Salomon Rondon for Liverpool clash
Everton striker Salomon Rondon should be left out of the starting lineup against Liverpool, says Patrick Boyland.
The Toffees and the Reds go head-to-head in the first Merseyside derby of the season at Goodison Park tonight.
Rafa Benitez’s side go into the game after losing 1-0 at Brentford on Sunday afternoon, meaning the Spaniard is expected to make changes to his team.
Discussing the derby in a Q & A on The Athletic’s website, Boyland debated the possibility of Rondon leading the line for Everton.
“Not sure how wise it would be to start Rondon tonight – would be a controversial pick for some supporters, and that before a ball has even been kicked,” he wrote.
“I do recognise, though, that Benitez’s current style relies on a focal point up top. If you play Richarlison there then you need to alter the service. Slipped balls down channels like at Anfield last season. Long balls against VVD and Matip would play into Liverpool’s hands.”
There is no doubt that Rondon would be an unpopular choice among supporters if Benitez decided to start him upfront this evening.
The Colombian has massively underwhelmed since signing in the summer and has failed to score in 10 appearances.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury and Richarlison’s suspension meant that Rondon started upfront against Brentford last weekend, but he put in another uninspiring performance.
Richarlison is now available again, so the assumption would be that he would come in as a like-for-like replacement.
However, Boyland does make a good point about Everton’s approach at Goodison Park. The Toffees are unlikely to see much of the ball against their rivals and their best tactic may be to play long balls up the field.
In that situation, Rondon’s physicality would make him a better option than Richarlison, who would be better used on the left.
There would certainly be no better way for the 32-year-old to get supporters onside than becoming a derby matchwinner.
In other Everton news, the Toffees could look to sell one of their star players to raise transfer funds.