Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Everton will be without top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin for their midweek trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers as the striker is struggling with a hamstring injury.
The forward missed the Toffees’ FA Cup third round win over Rotherham United on Saturday as a result of the blow, which he first sustained prior to his side’s 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham United on New Year’s Day, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Everton had hoped to see Calvert-Lewin overcome the issue ahead of travelling to Molineux on Tuesday, but he has not yet recovered sufficiently, leaving the club keen to be cautious with the £100,000-per-week attacker.
Calvert-Lewin had scored 11 goals over the opening 11 games of the Premier League season but is now without finding the back of the net in his last five top-flight appearances, which have seen Everton win by a single-goal margin on three occasions and lose once.
Ancelotti is not overly concerned by the severity of Calvert-Lewin’s hamstring injury, though accepts Everton will need to find alternative ways of beating Wolves.
“Calvert-Lewin is not available. It is a hamstring problem,” the former Chelsea boss said. “I think he can recover soon. He had a little problem in the week before West Ham, but, given the fact he had never had this injury before, he was not able to judge for himself 100%.
“He played the whole game against West Ham, so this means that it’s not a really important injury, but we want to keep him safe and when he comes back, be 100%. Without an important player like Dominic, we need to be able to replace him in different ways.
“We’re going to play a player with different characteristics, and we have to adapt for this. For sure, we will be less dangerous from crosses but maybe we can be more dangerous with the final pass.”
Ancelotti and Everton opting to play it safe with Calvert-Lewin as he strives to recover from a first hamstring injury of his career may prove beneficial for the £40.5m-rated attacker, as the extended break between appearances will afford the 23-year-old a chance to hit the reset button.
Calvert-Lewin broke out of the gates on fire at the start of the season but has lost his lethal edge over the past month and has struggled to create chances, twice only recording one shot and twice hitting just two efforts in a game since last finding the back of the net, per WhoScored.
His time on the field has not reduced over those games with Ancelotti only withdrawing the England international for the final 10 minutes of this month’s defeat to West Ham, marking Calvert-Lewin’s first substitution during a league fixture since matchday two.
Everton will need to see Calvert-Lewin back to his best soon with fixtures coming thick and fast over the next month, and competition for the Champions League places fierce with the top-10 separated by just seven points.