Everton have been dealt a huge blow ahead of Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, with Carlo Ancelotti confirming that Yerry Mina will miss the Liverpool clash through injury.
The Colombian centre-half was forced off after just 18 minutes during the Toffees’ 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday night, having sustained a calf issue.
Ancelotti had opted to recall Mina to his backline for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s title-chasing Sky Blues, having chosen to leave the 26-year-old an unused substitute of his side’s previous meetings with Manchester United and Fulham.
Mina had proven a mainstay of Everton’s defence before his omission at Old Trafford, starting 18 of the Goodison Park natives’ prior 20 Premier League fixtures and helping to keep all four of his side’s clean sheets to date.
But Everton expect to be without the £18m-rated enforcer at Anfield, likely leaving Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey contesting for a central role against the reigning champions.
“Mina, we have to check tomorrow [Thursday],” Ancelotti said following the Manchester City match.
“For sure, he will not be available to play against Liverpool.”
However, Ancelotti does hope to have top-scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin and summer signing Allan back for Saturday’s trip to the red side of Stanley Park after missing both players in recent weeks due to hamstring injuries.
Holgate, also valued at £18m as per CIES, moved into a central defensive role to partner Michael Keane against the Citizens after Mina was forced off, while Godfrey played out the full 90 at left-back with Lucas Digne occupying a wide midfield position.
Ancelotti will likely opt to keep Holgate and Keane together in the centre against Liverpool after the pair coped with a majority of the onslaught faced on Wednesday night. Although Keane may have felt there was more he could have done to deny Bernardo Silva his side’s third goal.
Keane was far too flat-footed as Silva collected possession from Gabriel Jesus on the edge of Jordan Pickford’s box, leaving the England international unable to shift his weight quick enough to prevent the 26-year-old from getting his shot off.
He will need to step up and deliver a more convincing performance at Anfield if Everton are to win their first match away to Liverpool since 1999, but Ancelotti should not fear an error-filled display from the defender who the Liverpool Echo’s Sam Carroll describes as “absolutely superb” and a “leader”.
Holgate also recorded a game-high nine clearances against Manchester City, four more than any other player and more than double his average 4.1 a game, to show Ancelotti that he can deal with the pressure of a confident attack relentlessly bearing down on Pickford’s net.
AND in other news, Carlo Ancelotti is willing Everton to pay £26.5m for a £176k-p/w gem…