FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Crystal Palace - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - February 8, 2020 Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Everton will have to play a perfect game to beat Liverpool in Sunday’s derby at Goodison Park and home advantage no longer exists without fans in the stands, manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday.
Premier League leaders Liverpool need six points to clinch their first title in 30 years and will be formidable opponents, having beaten Everton this season already in the league and FA Cup.
“We have to play a perfect game showing character, showing sacrifice, showing personality. To beat Liverpool you have to do more than 100%,” Ancelotti told reporters.
The match was confirmed at Goodison, rather than a neutral venue, last week after concerns about supporters gathering outside.
Merseyside derbies are always passionate affairs, with the home crowds creating a special atmosphere that will now be lacking.
“I am pleased that the game is at Goodison Park, I’m not pleased that we have to play without supporters,” said Ancelotti.
“The fact that we play home without supporters is a disadvantage for us, it will be a disadvantage for Liverpool, this is for sure.
“Nobody knows how the players are going to react without supporters. We will see,” added the Italian.
“Everyone in football says your supporters are the 12th man and we know how our fans supported us during home games but you have to respect the rules, the procedure. I think it is the right procedure.”
Everton will be without Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph due to injury, while Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Theo Walcott are long-term absentees.
Midfielder Andre Gomes, who had surgery after fracturing his right ankle in November, is available.
“Gomes is really important for us,” said Ancelotti. “He came back before the lockdown, he needed time to perform at his best. But now he’s fit, in good condition and comfortable on the pitch.”