With a punishing schedule of almost twenty league games and an FA Cup tie to contend with, Everton manager Sam Allardyce will be desperate to strengthen his midfield options in the January transfer window – an area grossly neglected by Steve Walsh and his predecessor Ronald Koeman in the summer.
With Kieron Dowell on loan at Nottingham Forrest, and long term absentees Yannick Bolasie and Ross Barkley seemingly weeks away from a return, the blues boss only has Morgan Schneiderlin, Wayne Rooney, Kevin Mirallas, Aaron Lennon, James McCarthy, Idrissa Gueye, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Davy Klaassen, Mo Besic, Tom Davies, Nikola Vlasic, Ademola Lookman and Beni Baningime at his disposal.
Thankfully, there are some areas where he doesn’t need to be concerned. At left-back, right-back Cuco Martina will battle it out with right-back Cuco Martina and the injured ghost of Leighton Baines. Whilst upfront, both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse will compete for the sole position of club striker. It is expected than Sandro Ramirez will return to La Liga, but it was also expected that he wouldn’t be useless – so who knows how that will play out.
There is a race against time to fit a new scoreboard at Anfield in time for the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
The existing scoreboard only has the facility to register a double figure score for either team, and there are now legitimate concerns that it won’t be able to accommodate the cricket score that Liverpool aim to rack up against Everton’s defence.
The unwelcome scoreboard drama only adds to Liverpool’s woes going into the match, following the news earlier in the week that a consignment of ten thousand Liverpool / Steau Bucharest half and half scarves had been lost in the post.
Thankfully, both setbacks don’t seem to have dented the unmitigated smugness and cockiness pouring out of every supporter at any given opportunity.
The Europa League nightmare is almost over for Evertonians, with only one more game of BT Sport commentary and analysis to endure.
Blues fans have endured a torrid time in this season’s competition, with every game succumbing to the commentary of Ian Darke, Robbie Savage and Chris Sutton. The misery being further compounded by the expert analysis of Jermaine Jenas and Martin Keown.
To the clubs’ credit, they have done everything possible to spare supporters the pain – by trying to exit the competition as quickly as possible. A series of embarrassing performances, which has seen the team consistently battered by various European minnows, has successfully enabled them to crash out in the group stage.