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Frank Lampard: Everton cannot allow results elsewhere influence them
By the time they kick off at Anfield in the 240th Merseyside derby late on Sunday, the Toffees could be in the Premier League bottom three.
Everton manager Frank Lampard insists they cannot allow themselves to be influenced by results around them.
By the time they kick off at Anfield in the 240th Merseyside derby late on Sunday, the Toffees could be in the Premier League bottom three if Burnley succeed in getting at least a point at home to Wolves earlier in the day.
However, while the Clarets remain their primary rivals in the race to avoid relegation, Lampard has not ruled out reeling in Leeds above them.
Their fellow strugglers are only four points ahead, having played a match more than Everton, and the Blues boss believes if they edge closer to Jesse Marsch’s team, it will ramp up the pressure on them too.
“We can’t gauge our mindset or attitude on other results. They will happen, you have to expect other teams will win games,” he said.
“Until you are mathematically out of it, you are in a battle.”
Lampard knows his side make the short trip across Stanley Park with expectations on them low, having taken just six points away from home all season.
Even the victory at Anfield last year – their first since 1999 – against an injury-ravaged, out-of-form Liverpool team was regarded as against the odds so the Everton manager has no problems embracing the fact no one really gives them a chance.
“There’s no problem being an underdog, we are the underdogs, it’s clear because of where Liverpool are in the process,” he added.
“But where we are, we have to fight to the last minute, no matter what happens in this game.”
Everton’s chances have not been helped by the absence of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose injury-plagued season continues with a thigh problem keeping him out.
The England international has made just 14 appearances this season and the team have struggled for goals without him but Lampard does not believe there is anything more serious wrong with the forward.
“I think every player has a potential underlying problem. Nobody’s a machine, this is a tough industry and there’s a lot of demands on the players,” he said.
“There’s obviously an element of bad luck where it happens to players, they have a run of bad luck and we know that one injury leads to another.
“Nobody is infallible in those terms. Dominic is like every other player, he’s had a bad run.”
Richarlison has been required to fill the central role but it does not play to his strengths and the impact substitution of Salomon Rondon to help secure a late draw against Leicester on Wednesday may give Lampard something to think about.
“He showed an ability to hold the ball up and be involved in the goal and I knew he has that,” said the manager.
“He is a smart player, good player with a great work ethic. It is a great option.
“With Richy (Richarlison), if you look at the modern-day number nine, it is different to years ago. Dominic maybe is nearer to that old one.
“Richarlison can do that role for us but he can also work off the left, as an inside-left as much as a wide man.
“It is a real beauty to have players across the front line who can be versatile.”