Carlo Ancelotti insists that Jordan Pickford will play this Sunday in their Premier League fixture away at Southampton. The England goalkeeper’s tackle on Liverpool vice-captain and star player Virgil Van Dijk in last week’s Merseyside derby, left the central defender needing anterior cruciate ligament surgery and is now likely to miss the rest of the season. Police are currently investigating social media threats made towards Pickford following the incident. Ancelotti apologised on behalf of Everton Football Club for the tackle earlier this week but says that it was not deliberate, and he never considered leaving out his number one.
“To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk. Every one of us wishes he can recover soon and well” Ancelotti said.
“Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk.”
“I don’t take into consideration to take him out. He trained well and is focused on the game.”
The Toffees currently sit top of the Premier League table and are unbeaten this season with a total of 13 points from five games. A win at the St. Mary’s Stadium will be the first time the club has won four straight away games since 1985, following on from earlier victories over Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United from last season.
Southampton are currently unbeaten in their last three games (2 wins and one draw) and sit 13’th in the table. Coming off the back of an impressive 3-3 draw away at Chelsea, in which the Saints fought back from 2-0 down to snatch a point in the last minute. Manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is aware that this a much improved Everton side from the one they drew 1-1 with at Goodison Park in their last meeting and that his team must produce a “high- intensity game” in order to come out with 3 points.
“I think they have improved a lot and have produced some very good performances so far this season”
“We will have to be better committed and with a really really intense game”
Hasenhuttl will be without deadline signing Theo Walcott who is ineligible to play against his former club, while winger Moussa Djenepo is still out with a hamstring injury.
The Blues will be without Sheamus Coleman and Jonjoe Kenny who are carrying hamstring and ankle injuries respectively and the suspended Richarlison after his sending off in last week’s derby. James Rodriquez is doubtful after suffering a knock in that same fixture but is hoping to feature in some capacity.