Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Lucas Digne will be fit to face Leicester City on Wednesday night but he will be without Abdoulaye Doucoure for the Foxes’ visit to Everton.
The Toffees will move to within three points of Brendan Rodgers’ side with a victory, but they have only won two of their last six home Premier League games after a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on New Year’s Day.
Doucoure’s absence through suspension, after being shown a fifth yellow card of the league campaign in Everton’s 2-1 win at Wolves, will leave Ancelotti with a headache in the middle, knowing his side will lack their usual power considering Allan’s ongoing hamstring injury.
So, as Ancelotti seeks to claim three points, here’s a potential line-up the Italian could name at home to Leicester, with four changes from the XI which beat Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup…
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was one of a handful of first-team regulars to be rested in the FA Cup against Sheffield Wednesday but he will expect to regain his place in the side, despite Robin Olsen recording a shut out on Saturday.
Michael Keane also watched the action from the bench over the weekend, and may now return to see Mason Holgate remain at centre-back to partner him after leading the defensive line superbly against the Owls.
Holgate featuring centrally will allow for Seamus Coleman to retain his place in the starting line-up but at the expense of Ben Godfrey, who will likely be forced out of the side with Digne confirmed as available after being passed fit for action.
Allan and Doucoure being unavailable to face Leicester has left Ancelotti with a headache over his engine room options so he will be expected to opt for a dual-pivot of Andre Gomes and Tom Davies with the Portuguese star impressing in the FA Cup and the £14.5m-rated academy product his usual stand-in of late.
Alex Iwobi missed the FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday but is back available for selection, yet he is likely to miss out on facing Leicester after James Rodriguez enjoyed great success in his free-roaming wide role against the Owls to record two assists.
Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin also featured in the cup win but saw their minutes managed, with Ancelotti taking the trio off before the final whistle as a likely sign that he will field an unchanged attack at home to Leicester.
AND in other news – Exclusive: Pundit expects Everton to sell a £180k-p/w duo before Monday’s deadline…