Everton visit Anfield on Saturday evening looking to end a 22-year wait for an away victory over Liverpool, and can move level on points with Jurgen Klopp’s defending Premier League champions with a victory.
The Toffees have not tasted success on the red side of Stanley Park since 1999 but have been gifted a huge boost ahead of the Merseyside Derby, with Carlo Ancelotti confirming that top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin will make his return from a hamstring injury.
Calvert-Lewin’s 13 top-flight goals have earned the Blues 15 of their 37 points this season and has seen his side lose each of the two fixtures he sat out this month. Neither Richarlison nor Gylfi Sigurdsson could get the Blues ticking on the same beat against Fulham or Manchester City.
So, with Calvert-Lewin due to be welcomed back into the Everton starting line-up, here’s a potential XI that Ancelotti could name against Liverpool…
Calvert-Lewin’s recall will be expected to see Richarlison return to the wing, having occupied a central role during Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, likely forcing Lucas Digne to revert to his natural left-back position in turn.
But Ben Godfrey will not be forced to vacate the starting line-up, as Ancelotti will be without centre-half Yerry Mina against Liverpool with the Colombian sidelined due to a calf issue sustained in midweek.
The injury could see Mason Holgate retain a central role in defence after replacing Mina at home to the Citizens, though he will likely keep his spot at right-back, having initially been preferred at full-back against Pep Guardiola’s title-chasing side before the enforced change.
England internationals Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane will each anticipate a continued presence in the Toffees side, having coped with a majority of the danger City posed in midweek.
Calvert-Lewin is not the only injury boost Everton have been gifted ahead of Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, with Ancelotti also confirming that Allan will make his return to the XI for the first time since December 16.
Allan has missed the past two months of action with a hamstring injury sustained against Leicester City, which has ruled the 10-cap Brazil international out of nine of the Blues’ last 10 Premier League fixtures after starting 12 of the opening 13 following a £21m summer switch.
Tom Davies will be the most at-risk player to make way for £70k-per-week Allan’s return after Ancelotti opted to haul the Toffees product off midway through the second half on Wednesday night as the first of his unforced changes.
Ancelotti faces a dilemma over his central playmaker option for Everton’s trip to Anfield after underwhelming performances from Gylfi Sigurdsson and James Rodriguez in midweek.
However, the Italian can be expected to stick with the Iceland international after an ineffectual cameo performance from the ex-Real Madrid maestro against Manchester City.
Alex Iwobi will hope to retain a starting berth alongside Abdoulaye Doucoure after earning a recall in midweek when he would prove to be the Blues’ silver lining of a 3-1 defeat by providing an important role in Everton’s only goal as well as a rare driving force in an otherwise timid side.
Iwobi dropped to the bench for Liverpool’s visit to Goodison Park in October, despite assisting the Toffees’ third goal while starting a 4-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion the game prior.
AND in other news, Everton face a £35m asking price to land Carlo Ancelotti’s 21-year-old target…