Paul Ince: Liverpool should worry ahead of the Merseyside Derby, Everton and Lukaku are on fire

Former Liverpool midfielder talks about the blue half of Merseyside ahead of tomorrow's Derby match, and the future of Everton talisman Romelu Lukaku

Romelu should Luk at his options closely

I find it weird that Lukaku has suddenly decided not to sign a new contract. A player of his standard wants to be challenging for the Champions League, so you can understand when he says that he wants to see who will be joining the club.

At the moment it’s pretty much all about him. He’s the one who seems to be getting the goals, he’s the real talisman of the side, but Everton need more players if they’re going to get into Europe and can’t just rely on him.

He’s scoring 20+ goals a season, he’s young, the fans love him and he’s now under a brilliant manager. There’s plenty of room for improvement at Everton, so he should be patient.

There’s rumours about clubs like Chelsea or Manchester United being after him and, as a young striker, they’re obviously going to be tempting him. Why wouldn’t they? But he could rush off to Chelsea and never get a game over Diego Costa. Or he could head to United and see Zlatan prioritised. He needs to be careful.

Whatever he decides to do, he’s only 23 and he’s been unbelievable at Everton. There’s still even more to come and further improvement in his game, but he needs to make the right choice. At his age, he needs to be playing regular football.

You don’t associate Everton with being one of the top teams, but Ronald Koeman will be telling Lukaku that they’re only a handful of players away.


Everton are playing better than Liverpool

Ronald Koeman is a manager that can help Everton to improve and become a top club. You can already see them getting there. I’ve played against him and he was a fantastic player with a tough mentality. He is starting to instil that mindset into the Everton players, and that’s why this weekend’s game could be very tricky for Liverpool.

At the minute, they’re gaining momentum and actually playing better than Liverpool. They look much better, they’re creating goals and have Lukaku on the end of them, and he is on fire. He could cause real problems for that defence.

They’re only six points behind Liverpool and they go into the game in a good position to win. No derby day is easy, and it will be tough, but I’d say they’ll be heading into the game with plenty of confidence.

Yes, Everton’s record there is bad, but Koeman isn’t going to be mentioning that to his side before the game. He won’t be dwelling on the losses, he will just want his team to go out there and win. That record is irrelevant to him. He wasn’t there then and he has a much better team now.

A couple of months ago, this game would’ve seemed like a foregone conclusion at Anfield. Each game Everton are gaining more and more confidence, and Liverpool should be worried, despite their excellent record against the top sides.

Often in derby games, it’s not about who’s in what position. Who’s at the top of the table or who’s at the bottom. It’s about who can handle it. Who can take the pressure of those intimidating occasions and take control of the game?

This game is known to be dirty, with plenty of red and yellow cards, but that’s because players lose their heads. They lose all control of the situation.

You have to be mentally strong to play for the game and not the occasion in a match like this. That’s what I’d be telling my side if I was Koeman or Klopp, to focus. It will be interesting to see which team can keep it together and dominate.

What do you think?