Everton v Liverpool

Everton are back.

Football is back.

After a three month gap, Everton return to competitive action on Sunday by hosting the Merseyside Derby in the first of nine games in five weeks.

In a run that stretches back until November, Everton are unbeaten in their last seven league matches at Goodison Park – though home advantage has been largely lost with no crowd due to the coronavirus crisis which continues to affect live sport.

Everton have a number of injuries with Fabian Delph, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Yerry Mina and Theo Walcott all ruled out.

By contrast, Liverpool have no new injury concerns, with goalkeeper Alisson fit after a hip problem.

Carlo Ancelotti confirmed the number of injuries has influenced his preparations by avoiding any warm-up friendlies against other clubs in a bid to avoid risk of further injuries to an already depleted squad.

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Carlo Ancelotti believes Sunday represents a great opportunity for Everton to show their quality.

“I think we have to play a perfect game, showing character and sacrifice and personality.

“It will be difficult but we have to consider it as a great opportunity to show our quality and come back to the Premier League with a good performance… to try to win and to do our best.

“Our goal… is to do our best and try to reach a good position in the table and, if it is possible, to fight to play in Europe next season.

“For us it is important to gain points and improve our position in the table.

“I am pleased the game is at Goodison Park [but]… no one is pleased to play games without supporters.

“Nobody knows how the players will react without supporters, it is a mental aspect, we will see.

“It could be really important for our team and for others.

“We know how our fans supported us during games but we have to respect the rules.

“It is the right procedure and everyone has to stay safe, then, I hope soon, we can have supporters in the stadiums.”

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