Paul Merson believes it is difficult to separate Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and Crystal Palace summer signing Christian Benteke on current form.

Lukaku, 23, has scored four goals in five Premier League games so far this season – bagging a second-half hat-trick against Sunderland earlier in the month.

Benteke, who joined Palace from Liverpool in a club-record £32m move in the summer, netted a late winner for the Eagles at Sunderland last weekend.

The Belgian pair will come up against each other at Goodison Park on Friday night and Merson thinks Lukaku may just have the edge over his compatriot.

The 48-year-old told Sky Sports: “There's not much between Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke if both sides play to their strengths.

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“But Lukaku has looked bright recently and Benteke is just starting out with a new club.”

Merson has predicted a 2-1 home win for Ronald Koeman’s side, who go into the fixture sixth but on the back of a defeat to Bournemouth.

Palace, meanwhile, have won three straight games and overturned a 2-0 deficit to take the three points at the Stadium of Light.

“Palace seem to have turned the corner and are flying at the moment, but if they didn't score so soon after Sunderland went 2-0 up last weekend I don't think they would have got back in the game,” Merson added.

“It was a disappointing result for Everton against Bournemouth and they will be looking to bounce back.”

Croydon Guardian: