Unfortunately for the Blues, not only are they still missing a quartet of players, it now looks like Alex Iwobi is a doubt for the game too. However, one of the first questions Rafa Benitez got during his pre-match press conference was regarding some comments Richarlison had made earlier in the week about his future at Everton.
The manager reiterated that the Brazilian was happy at Everton now and getting him back to fitness and scoring again was his priority.
“We were talking about the future, his situation, so the main thing is to make sure he is fit and I was talking with his people and it was a very nice conversation and everything was positive about how they player was to be fit, to score goals and do well for us, that’s it.”
Andros Townsend has been busy winning fans’ over with his excellent displays on the pitch for the Blues.
“Andros is a player I knew well at Newcastle, it’s someone that’s very keen to learn and work hard. He’s the type of player Everton fans love, because he gives everything on the pitch and has quality.
“We talk about that [goals and assists]. He has to give more assists, he has to score more goals, but he has to help his team as he is doing. If you have the quality and work hard, you can be successful.
“Normally good professionals improve. You analyse little things and details, and they will improve. Andros is a player that is intelligent and a hard worker, he’s trying to improve his game every day. He’s a good example for Gordon, Gray and Iwobi.”
The indefatigable Abdoulaye Doucoure has been revitalized in a box-to-box role under Benitez, and has been showing his worth in the goals and assists column this season.
“With Doucoure, it’s clear he has the energy and potential to get in the box, I told him so many times ‘Go’.
“He’s doing well and focused on that, so I’m really pleased. That is an extra motivation for any player.”