Dominic Calvert-Lewin will again be absent as Everton host Premier League leaders Manchester City, but Carlo Ancelotti hopes the striker will be fit to face rivals Liverpool this weekend.
The 23-year-old missed Sunday’s surprise 2-0 home loss to struggling Fulham after picking up a hamstring complaint in last Wednesday’s 5-4 FA Cup fifth-round win over Tottenham.
Ancelotti had expected to be able to call upon Calvert-Lewin against Premier League leaders City. But the Toffees boss says the striker will not be available on Wednesday.
“Not available for sure, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and (Jean-Philippe) Gbamin,” the Italian said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “The others are all OK, they are going to train today.
“(Jordan) Pickford yesterday trained and it was OK. We check again today and if he’s available he is going to play.
“Allan is in contention. He’s fit, he’s good. He’s available to play.”
Asked how long Calvert-Lewin faces out, with the Merseyside derby clash at Liverpool looming large, Ancelotti said: “I think it’s a matter of days. We hope that he will be available on Saturday (to face Liverpool).”
Calvert-Lewin has been in superb form for Everton this season. The England man has notched 13 top-flight goals in becoming a a key member of Gareth Southgate’s squad.
The striker is a key cog in Ancelotti’s system but the Toffees boss is not focusing on absentees against City.
“Calvert-Lewin is really important because he gives us the opportunity to play in (a) different way because we can play long balls,” he said.
“Without him, we lose some opportunities to play but I have to say that we played really well without him also. We played very well against Wolves when we were without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.
“So, I’m not worried for the players that are not going to play. I have to be worried for the players that are going to play tomorrow.”
Everton looking to bounce back
Ancelotti’s side head into Wednesday’s game looking to bounce back against the toughest opposition around, with relentless City arriving at Goodison Park on a 16-match winning run in all competitions.
“As I said a lot of times, it’s an unpredictable season,” he said, reflecting on the 2-0 loss to relegation-threatened Fulham. “The game that seems easier than others becomes more and more difficult.
“We had the experience against Newcastle, the experience against Fulham. It’s this kind of season.
“We are not the only team that lost at home this kind of game – United lost, Liverpool lost.
“The only team that didn’t lose this kind of game was Manchester City. This is the game that we are going to play tomorrow.
“Of course we are frustrated, we are disappointed. We lost an opportunity to climb the table with this game and we have to find another solution to try to get points.
“We have to say we don’t have a lot of chance against Man City but we have a chance.
“I don’t know how many chances we have to fight and to try to win but we have a chance because usually these kinds of (games) we did well. Really well, so I have confidence.
“Of course yesterday was not a good day because we were disappointed, frustrated.
“Today is the day of the confidence, of the belief – and I believe that we can play a completely different game.”