Liverpool's James Milner vs Everton's James McCarthy: One betters the other in six key areas

The Liverpool and Everton midfielders go head-to-head this weekend.

Everton host Liverpool in the first Merseyside derby of the season and it’s a match which the hosts will arguably start as the favourites owing to their good form early on.

Roberto Martinez’s men have been impressive all over the park, with recent wins over Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion proving they have plenty of mettle along with their evident quality.

If there is one area which deserves extra recognition, then it’s the Toffees' midfield, with Ross Barkley stepping up a notch supported by the industrious Gareth Barry and James McCarthy.

The latter has been a mainstay for Everton this season, and this weekend he’ll be up against another one of the Premier League’s most consistent performers in Liverpool’s James Milner.

The former Manchester City man has been a standout performer for the Reds in his more comfortable central midfield role, and so far he has performed among the very best in the Premier League.

  Shots per GameKey Passes per GameTouches per GameAccurate Passes per GameTackles per GamesInterceptions per GameDef Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameAppearances
James Milner 1.71 2 76.14 45.29 2 0.57 5.57 6.86 7
James McCarthy 0.43 0.29 64.71 44.71 2 1.43 3.14 2.86 7

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, so consistent have Milner’s performances been that he has actually outperformed McCarthy in as many as six key midfield areas.

The England international has averaged more shots, key passes, touches, accurate passes, defensive duel winners and ball recoveries per Premier League encounter than his upcoming Everton rival.

In the absence of the energetic Jordan Henderson, Milner has had to assert further control for his side and his leadership skills will be severely tested this weekend in front of a buoyant Goodison Park.

In a key battle which could determine the result of the match, both midfielders will be tasked with a vitally important role this weekend, and McCarthy in particular will be hoping to even up the scores a touch.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch