Carlo Ancelotti is facing the “impossible” task of finding a like-for-like replacement for Richarlison with Everton potentially without the Brazilian at Sheffield United on Boxing Day.
According to The Guardian, the Goodison Park natives are waiting anxiously for word on whether or not Richarlison can take to the field at Bramall Lane on Saturday night as he continues to be assessed for a potential concussion.
The 23-year-old was substituted off during the Toffees’ Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday night under the orders of the club’s doctor, having received an elbow to the head in an accidental collision with Eric Bailly.
Ancelotti has insisted Everton will not breach the Football Association’s concussion protocols and field Richarlison regardless, after he claimed “everything is fine” in a message shared on Twitter.
Everton will be hoping Richarlison can feature at Bramall Lane as they strive to secure a fourth-straight Premier League victory to maintain the club’s position in the top-four places, as the Toffees are yet to win a top-flight fixture without the Brazilian since his arrival in 2018.
Ancelotti will also be without James Rodriguez after confirming the Colombian will miss the festive meetings with Sheffield United and Manchester City with the same calf injury that has sidelined the 29-year-old for the Blues’ last three league games.
“Without Richarlison, we know it will be difficult,” Ancelotti said. “If he had a concussion he has to stay out, we have to follow the protocols, and we have to be able to replace him better than what we did when he was not here.
“James will not be available for the next few games and it is a challenge for us to replace them both.”
Everton lost all three Premier League fixtures while without Richarlison earlier in the season following his red card at home to Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, during which Ancelotti admitted it is “impossible” to find a like-for-like replacement for the 23-year-old with who he already has at the club.
Ancelotti will be keen to see Everton avoid a repeat of their struggles while Richarlison was suspended should he not be able to feature against Sheffield United on Boxing Day, knowing the £50m record signing accounts for much of the Toffees’ offensive advances.
No Everton player has registered a higher number of successful dribbles than Richarlison (32), who ranks second to Dominic Calvert-Lewin (39) for total shots (24) in Premier League fixtures and third for big chances created (3), per SofaScore.
Only Calvert-Lewin (11) and Rodriguez (3) have scored more often than Richarlison (2), too, with fellow forwards Alex Iwobi, Anthony Gordon and Cenk Tosun yet to find the back of the net.