Everton face arguably their biggest game of the season so far on Wednesday night when Leicester City visit Goodison Park for the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
It could also mark Duncan Ferguson’s final game as caretaker manager of the Blues, with a deal to appoint Carlo Ancelotti as Marco Silva’s replacement reportedly edging closer.
The Blues will certainly be out for revenge against Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes, who beat them 2-1 at home in the Premier League thanks to a last-minute Kelechi Iheanacho winner earlier this month.
Leicester are second in the Premier League but failed to win for the first time in ten games when Norwich City held them to a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Ahead of Wednesday’s game, we spoke to Dylan Durbin, Foxes fan and writer for Read Leicester:
RBM: Firstly, do you think Leicester’s victory over Everton a few weeks ago, and the nature of it, will give them a psychological advantage for this game?
Dylan: It was a fairly even match and I can imagine that the ending will no doubt still be in the minds of the Everton players.
Although, Everton have had a couple of positive results in recent weeks so that may give the players confidence of securing a better result this time around.
RBM: With Leicester still second and league matches with Manchester City and Liverpool ahead, how big a priority do you think this game will be for Rodgers?
Dylan: At the start of the season I think the cup competitions were going to be of big importance to Rodgers; we played pretty much our strongest line-up in our opening game of the tournament against Newcastle United.
But I don’t think anyone expected us to be second in the league at this stage of the season, so I think with this great opportunity of Champions League qualification the cups may take a back seat.
I wouldn’t expect to see a completely different line-up; maybe just a handful of key players rested before the trip to City on Saturday.
RBM: As a Leicester fan, would you take silverware over Champions League qualification this season?
Dylan: That’s a tough choice, but personally I would love to see us playing Champions League football again.
Watching us play European football was an amazing experience, one we haven’t had often in our history and it made for some epic atmospheres at the King Power Stadium that we have missed since.
RBM: Norwich were able to frustrate Leicester on Saturday in ways that few teams have this season. How concerned did that result and performance leave you?
Dylan: The winning run had to end eventually, and we didn’t even lose so it isn’t too concerning.
We weren’t at our best and it just seemed like one of those games where we couldn’t quite take our chances. Norwich also played well and probably deserved a point.
RBM: Since Iheanacho’s winner against Everton, Rodgers seems to have changed Leicester’s setup to accommodate him and Jamie Vardy up top, with no wingers. How has it worked?
Dylan: It worked well in the 4-1 win at Aston Villa a couple of weeks ago. The players looked less comfortable in the new shape to begin with and gave away some good chances, but they grew into it and were dominant for the majority. It will be interesting to see if it’s a setup that will stick around.
Iheanacho has looked good since he came off the bench against Everton and Rodgers had previously been critical of Leicester’s wingers for not contributing to enough goals, so this may be his way around it.
RBM: Which areas of the pitch should Everton look to exploit?
Dylan: Leicester seemed to give up a lot of space in behind regularly in the draw with Norwich. That was an area Norwich continually exploited to success and probably would have scored more if not for some excellent pacey recovery defending from Çağlar Söyüncü.
So, with what has been an excellent back-four for Leicester this season, it may be the high defensive line that should be targeted.
RBM: How do you expect Leicester to set up on Wednesday?
Dylan: There are a couple of successful setups now at his disposal, but I think Rodgers will stick to the 4-3-1-2, although there will probably be some rotation.
Probably expect to see James Justin come in for one of the full-backs. Hamza Choudhury is likely to be involved as well.
RBM: Which of Leicester’s players do you think could cause Everton the most problems?
Dylan: Other than the usual suspects such as Vardy or James Maddison, if Iheanacho plays, he’s looked one of our most dangerous players.
He backed up his great substitute performance against Everton with another good showing in the win over Villa. He seems like a player reborn this season.
RBM: Finally, what’s your prediction for Wednesday’s game?
Dylan: It’s a tough one to call, especially not knowing how strong a line-up Rodgers will deploy. Everton have looked better the past couple of weeks, so I expect a close game no matter what team is played.
I’ll go for a 3-2 Leicester win.
Our thanks to Dylan for his time.