Alonso and Arbeloa fit for Everton

Rafa Benitez has a full strength squad to choose from for Monday night’s crucial Merseyside derby with Everton. The match takes on extra importance following Man United‘s late win at Bolton on Saturday meaning they have replaced the Reds at the top of the table.

Benitez has confirmed midfielder Xabi Alonso is fit and available after missing the match at Stoke with a foot injury picked up in the FA Cup win at Preston.

Alonso has been arguably Liverpool’s best performer this season and his creativity was missed in the disappointing draw last Saturday at the Britannia Stadium. His return will most likely see him line-up alongside Mascherano with Gerrard in an advanced role behind Torres – if Torres is regarded as fit enough to start for the first time this year.

Also fit to return from a hamstring injury is full back Alvaro Arbeloa, he has been missing since before Christmas. His return means Jamie Carragher will move back into the middle of defence, with Skrtel, Agger and Hyypia all battling to partner the vice-captain.

The only players unavailable for Benitez are the injury plagued Philipp Degen and youngster Emiliano Insua who is away on international duty with Argentina’s under 20’s.