The teams are in ahead of today’s 12.30pm kick off at Goodison Park and Steve Bruce has made ONE change – bringing Manquillo in for Murphy and leaving Saint-Maximin on the bench.
Here’s the starting 11 and subs in full:
(5-2-2-1?): Darlow – Manquillo, Hayden, Lascelles, Schar, Lewis – Hendrick, Shelvey – Almiron, Fraser – Wilson.
SUBS: Dubravka, Krafth, Clark, M Longstaff, Anderson, Saint-Maximin, Gayle, Joelinton, Carroll.
Matt Ritchie and DeAndre Yedlin have been left out of the squad – a strong hint potential exits could be imminent – and Sean Longstaff is nowhere to be seen for the third game running.
Elsewhere, it’s good to see Ciaran Clark back on the bench after missing our last two, but there’s no room for Jacob Murphy in today’s squad, with Elliot Anderson named in the squad instead.
So, Saint-Maximin is fit again but remains on the bench, suggesting Bruce has decided not to risk the explosive Frenchman from the start.
That said, his obsession with a five-man defence is growing tiresome when A) we’ve won just THREE of our last 26 games when he’s played this system.
Not only that, he was telling BT Sport in his pre-match interview that ‘his way’ is to be on the front foot and push up the pitch – something a five-man defence has never allowed for under his tenure.
Who knows, it could be a 4-2-3-1 with Hayden in midfield, Hendrick on the right, Almiron in the No 10 role and Fraser on the left, however it seems more likely to be another five-man defence.
As for Everton, Jordan Pickford starts…