Marco Silva has overseen something of an attacking transformation at Everton so far this season and Gylfi Sigurdsson is at the very heart of it.
Brought in at great expense and after a considerable transfer wrangle during Ronald Koeman’s reign, the Icelandic playmaker had to compete with Wayne Rooney and to a lesser degree, Davy Klaassen for centre stage at Goodison Park last season.
Koeman’s successor Sam Allardyce preferred Rooney but so far this campaign, Sigurdsson’s patience is paying off handsomely.
The former Swansea man has six goals and two assists to his name in the Premier League as he now finds himself at the fulcrum of Silva’s high-tempo 4-2-3-1 system.
Sunday’s Merseyside derby will provide a stern test of Everton’s attacking improvement as well as Sigurdsson’s ability to find space between the lines against Liverpool’s energetic midfield trio.
Fortunately for the Toffees, Sigurdsson has something of a habit of scoring at Anfield, having done so four times across his career; twice on the winning side as former clubs Reading and Swansea City have stunned the Reds.
He bagged for Allardyce’s men in the 2-1 FA Cup defeat in January, but given that Everton have closed the gap to their rivals somewhat and tightened up defensively, a fifth Anfield strike could well be a winner.