Everton midfielder Fabian Delph has been forced to sit out training due to a muscle strain, as another Blues player joins the injury list ahead of the Premier League’s return.
The Liverpool Echo report that Delph hopes to be back on the pitches at Finch Farm next week, but this setback has cast doubts over his availability for the visit of Liverpool on Sunday, June 21.
The Merseyside derby, now confirmed to be held at Goodison Park, will be Everton’s first game back in action since the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of the Premier League on March 13.
Already, Everton know they will be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin (achilles), Yerry Mina (thigh) and Theo Walcott (abdominal surgery) for the visit of the Reds.
The game could also come too soon for fellow midfielders André Gomes, who has missed training this week with a minor knock, and Morgan Schneiderlin, who underwent surgery on a knee injury in late February.
Should Delph also be unable to return in time for the visit of Liverpool, who will seal the league title if Manchester City lose to Arsenal and they then beat Everton, the Blues may have only two fit first team midfielders in Tom Davies and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Delph, 30, has made 20 appearances so far in his debut season at Goodison, following his £8.5 million from Man City in July 2019.
But he has struggled to endear himself to Evertonians in a difficult first campaign, which has seen him sent off once and also engage in confrontation with supporters on social media.