Everton warned over ‘wounded animal’ Liverpool as trio set to return in derby

Everton have been warned they will be facing a "wounded animal" when rival neighbours Liverpool come to Goodison Park in the first Merseyside derby of the season on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti's side go into the clash three points clear of the reigning Premier League champions having won all four of their opening fixtures, while Liverpool were thrashed 7-2 in their last outing.

Optimism is running high around Everton heading into the clash, as they look to earn their first win over Liverpool in exactly a decade.

But with the Reds set to welcome back Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara – all of whom played no part in the heavy defeat to Aston Villa – former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy feels Everton should approach the match with caution.

Murphy told the Daily Mail : "For the first time for many years, the blue half of the city will understandably go into the game expecting to win.

"But in football you are best to be careful, particularly given a team as good as this Liverpool.

"If I was in the blue dressing-room, I would say beware the wounded animal, particularly as Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara should be all right to return."

Both Mane and Alcantara returned positive tests for coronavirus but have been self-isolating since, while Henderson was struggling with injury and did not come off the bench against Villa.

It was 10 years to the day when Everton last got one over their local rivals, but under Ancelotti the Toffees represent a different prospect to those who have failed previously.

The two sides drew 0-0 the last time they met behind closed doors, though Everton have added some top class signings to their ranks since.

Who will win Saturday's Merseyside derby? Have your say below.

Jurgen Klopp meanwhile rued the fact he would only have two days to work with his players on their return from international duty, particularly after such a devastating defeat.

And despite welcoming back three of his stars, Klopp could be without midfielder Naby Keita for Saturday's contest.

The Guinea international has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus while away on duty, according to journalist Usher Komugisha.

Should that prove to be the case, Keita would be forced into self-isolation and would at least be ruled out of the Merseyside derby.

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