Everton will return to the pitch behind closed-doors a whole three months after playing their last game with the Premier League resuming after the coronavirus-enforced interruption. They face the challenge of taking on almost champions-elect Liverpool in what will be the quietest Merseyside Derby to be ever played at Goodison Park.
Speaking on a conference call ahead of the match, manager Carlo Ancelotti said he knows how difficult it will be for the Toffees to get their first derby win in years.
“We have to consider this game as a great opportunity. It will be difficult of course because Liverpool are one of the best in the world, but we have to try.
“We are not so focused on what Liverpool are going to do in the future. They won’t win the title at our home, but that doesn’t matter.”
On Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Ancelotti added -
“We’ve met a lot of time in games. Apart from a professional relationship, I feel good when I talk to him. He’s an honest man and a great professional.”
The lockdown has been about the same length of time as Ancelotti’s Goodison reign was when play was paused, but it has given him some time to get a feel for the players he has and to work on how he can improve the side. However, we are set to see the current 4-4-2 formation continue for the rest of the season.
“Lockdown was good for us only for this reason. We didn’t forget the result or the performance. We have been working and I hope we can show a different ability and quality in this game.
“No tactical changes, in this period we were in contact with players showing them some video and giving them physical training. We are not going to change our strategy or our style. Until the end of the season we will follow the style in games before the lockdown.”
Ancelotti wound up the press conference by adding that Everton had not played against any other teams in warm-up friendlies apart from the single internal game played behind closed doors to ensure no more injuries to a squad that has been decimated over the season and this break.
Quotes courtesy of Liverpool Echo