Holgate has been out with a toe injury while Branthwaite has an ankle injury, but Everton have coped well with Yerry Mina partnering Michael Keane at centre-back.
Ahead of our Merseyside derby, we have the third-best defensive record (4 games, 5 goals conceded). Only Aston Villa (4 games, 2 goals conceded) and West Ham United (4 games, 4 goals conceded) have fared better.
What’s the latest on Holgate?
Holgate damaged his toe after attempting a tackle in our pre-season friendly win over Preston North End (September 5). He was substituted inside of half an hour and isn’t expected back until December.
Ancelotti gave an update on his recovery, telling Evertontv: “Holgate (is) working individually. (He has) no problems (in his recovery program), but we have to wait a little bit.”
Holgate is yet to make an appearance in any competition this season, forcing us to partner Yerry Mina and Michael Keane at centre-back. The pair have fared well, but Mina is an injury doubt ahead of Saturday’s clash and may need replacing. With so many defenders out, new-boy Ben Godfrey may be our only option at the back.
What’s the latest on Branthwaite?
Branthwaite injured his ankle in our EFL Cup win over Salford City (September 16) and was expected to be out for five weeks. The 18-year-old has made only one appearance across the board this season, amassing a paltry 24 minutes of playing time, but he should be back soon.
Ancelotti told Evertontv: “Branthwaite (is) working individually. Branthwaite is closer (to returning). (He has) no problems (in his recovery program), but we have to wait a little bit.”
It’s good news as we’re lacking depth in a key area due to numerous injury problems. We won’t have Holgate back for some time and don’t have Lewis Gibson as he’s currently on loan at Reading, so we only have Keane and Godfrey fit to face Liverpool. Mina will need a late test before a decision can be made by Ancelotti.
Despite not having Holgate and Branthwaite, we’ve started the new season brightly and have conceded fewer goals than the majority of clubs in the Premier League. Here’s hoping we can shut out Liverpool on the weekend, regardless of who gets the nod from Ancelotti.