Idrissa Gueye key for Everton in Merseyside derby - Michael Owen

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The 28-year-old has a huge role to play against the Reds and his presence could impact the outcome of Saturday's rivalry, according to the former Kop

Liverpool great Michael Owen has singled out Idrissa Gueye to be the difference for Everton in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Gueye was not in action in the Toffees' 3-1 loss to Manchester City last Saturday after suffering a muscle tear during the international break in March.

Everton, placed ninth in the English top-flight, are chasing their first win over their archrivals since October 2010.

And the former England star has highlighted how the presence of the tough-tackling midfielder can help curb the excesses of Jurgen Klopp's men at Goodison Park.

"Everton have only won one of their last 22 league meetings with Liverpool – none in the last 14 – and it is hard to see how the Blues can stop the Reds given how poor Sam Allardyce’s side were against City last weekend,” Owen was quoted by Daily Star.

“I expect to see Everton show more fight and passion than they showed against City and that game highlighted how important Idrissa Gueye is to the Toffees engine room.

“Without him, it could be a long afternoon for the Blues, with him I still expect the Reds superior pace and ability to be too hot to handle for the hosts.

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“Four of the last five games between the sides at Goodison have finished level with only Sadio Mane’s 90th winner last season preventing it from being five successive draws, but the Reds have 29-goal Mo Salah this season!”

PS Gana

Gueye has scored a goal in 27 league appearances this campaign.

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