Kurt Zouma could be set to face an unexpected problem this weekend – opinion

Kurt Zouma returns from his one-match suspension for the Merseyside derby against Liverpool at Goodison Park on Sunday and could take his place in the starting XI, but he may have an unexpected issue to deal with.

On the chalkboard

The Chelsea loanee missed the 3-0 win against Cardiff City in Wales on Tuesday night as a result of his dismissal against Watford earlier this month, but the 24-year-old is available again for the massive derby clash with the Premier League title hopefuls.

While Phil Jagielka came in and kept a clean sheet against the Bluebirds alongside Michael Keane with Yerry Mina on the substitutes’ bench, it is the partnership between Zouma and Keane that has seemingly become Marco Silva’s preferred one.

Should the Frenchman get the nod at the weekend he may well have thought he would be competing against either Roberto Firmino or Mo Salah, but instead it could be Sadio Mane.

Tough opponent

Not many would have predicted that Jurgen Klopp would start the Senegal international through the middle against Watford on Wednesday in Firmino’s absence through injury, given the German had Salah, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi to choose from.

However, that is exactly what he did and the former Southampton man impressed in the centre, scoring two goals in the opening 20 minutes of the 5-0 success against the Hornets.

Mane has the pace and sheer unpredictability that perhaps someone like Firmino doesn’t, and even if the Brazilian is back it is the African star that could keep the spot he excelled in during the week, considering he can also play behind the striker or out wide.

That isn’t good news for Zouma, as even though he can be relatively quick when he wants to be he may not have the mobility to deal with the twists and turns of the 26-year-old.