Frank Lampard has revealed that three players will miss Everton‘s trip to Liverpool, with the manager aware of the “reality” facing his side at Anfield.
Liverpool are on a run of just one defeat in their last 25 games, including 20 wins, and their only loss came in a Champions League second leg against Inter Milan that still saw them progress to the quarter-finals.
For their city rivals, though, it is a much different story: Everton have not won consecutive games since September and could head into the derby in the relegation zone.
It is an immense challenge, then, with few expecting the Blues to clinch a win at Anfield – which is made worse by a trio of injury setbacks.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Lampard revealed that midfielders Donny van de Beek and Andre Gomes were sidelined with minor issues, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains out with a quad injury.
Along with Calvert-Lewin, Van de Beek and Gomes, Everton will be without long-term absentees Tom Davies, Andros Townsend and Nathan Patterson.
In Calvert-Lewin’s absence on Wednesday night, Richarlison started up front in the 1-1 draw with Leicester, while Salomon Rondon and Dele Alli came off the bench to make an impact.
Beyond Allan, Fabian Delph and Abdoulaye Doucoure, there are few other senior options in midfield, with problems for Van de Beek and Gomes limiting Lampard’s selection.
Elsewhere in his press conference, the Everton manager accepted the “underdog” tag, with Liverpool “the strongest team, in form terms, in the league.”
“This game is a one-off, it brings a different energy to it, [so it is about] whether we can tap into that,” he added.
“The reality is we’re coming up against one of, if not the, best team in the world on current form.
“It’s a tough match in whatever way you look at it, but we’ll prepare as we always do, with an idea of how we want to play.
“The things I expect from the players, whether we’re at home or away, is passion and fight and a desire.
“There’s not a game plan in football that will work without that as a base, in particular in a game of this size and type.”