Everton have announced star defender Lucas Digne has signed a new four-year contract.

The new deal sees the 27-year-old commit to spending the prime of his career at Goodison Park following stints at LaLiga outfit Barcelona, Ligue 1 clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Lille, and a season-long loan at Roma in Serie A.

During his nearly three seasons on Merseyside, the set-piece specialist has quickly become a key component of the Toffees defensive unit, and their attack, playing 97 games in all competitions.

Digne has recorded six assists in 16 league games this season, one short of his total in 35 matches from 2019-20, while he claimed four goals and four assists in his debut 2018-19 Premier League campaign.

The France international has expressed his desire to help lead Carlo Ancelotti's side into the Champions League during his time at the club.

"In the national team, the competition in my position, and every position, is really strong and I have to play at the best level,” Digne told evertontv, after inking a contract until 2025.

"I play in the best league and I want to play in the best cup in Europe [Champions League], for sure.

"And I want to do that with Everton."

Only Liverpool duo Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold (28) have most assists than Digne (17) of full-backs since he arrived in the Premier League.

Digne has created the second most chances (166) out of Premier League full-backs in the same period, behind Alexander-Arnold, while he has put in the third most open-play crosses (400).

He added: "We have a big project with the club and can reach something very good at the end of this season and for the next few years.

"I have seen the progress every year since joining the club, we are building a strong team.

"When you sign for Everton, it is like an amazing wedding.

"You just have to do your best every day to show Evertonians the love you have for them. That is what I do.

"I want to show them what they give me and it is just amazing.

"It was clear in my mind that I want to continue with Everton."

What does the future hold for Andre Silva?

Silva has scored 18 Bundesliga goals this season, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

He could find himself at Manchester United if Eintracht Frankfurt reportedly pursue a permanent deal for Luka Jovic.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA BOUND FOR MANCHESTER?

Manchester United could be offered the chance to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Andre Silva if Edinson Cavani leaves Old Trafford, according to The Sun.

Silva is taking the Bundesliga by storm this season, but Eintracht are reportedly looking to raise funds to re-sign Luka Jovic – who is currently on loan in Frankfurt – permanently from Real Madrid.

Portugal international Silva could become available if veteran forward Cavani departs after the former Paris Saint-Germain star arrived on a one-year deal at the start of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eurosport claims Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Norway international forward has been linked with Madrid, BarcelonaManchester City, Liverpool and United, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Everton have joined United and Bayern Munich in trying to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham will target Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope if PSG make a move for Hugo Lloris, says the Daily Mail.

- The Sun claims United veteran Juan Mata is being tracked by Serie A trio, Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and now Manchester United are all reportedly chasing Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Days out from his 22nd birthday, Donnarumma has reportedly closed a deal with the Red Devils.

Is David de Gea's future in doubt?

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS SWOOP FOR RECORD-BREAKER

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has agreed to a provisional deal with Manchester United, according to Todo Fichajes.

The report claims the deal would make the Italy star the best paid goalkeeper ever in world football.

United have had goalkeeping issues this season, with number one keeper David de Gea making a number of errors, while understudy Dean Henderson has made a handful of appearances.

Donnarumma, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Thursday, became the youngest player in Serie A history to reach 200 appearances in Sunday's 3-0 derby defeat to leaders Inter.

The 21-year-old's current deal with the Rossoneri expires at the end of this season and he has been linked with a host of clubs including Serie A champions Juventus, Champions League holders Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign Erling Haaland, but who will he join?

Whoever it is, Haaland is set to command a mammoth contract.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND ASKING FOR LUCRATIVE DEAL

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland wants a contract in the region of £78million (€90m) as speculation intensifies over his future, according to the Daily Star.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund, linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

The report claims Haaland wants a five-year deal worth around £300,000 (€346,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Kylian Mbappe leave for Madrid, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to replace him with Tottenham star Harry Kane, claims the Mirror.

- Bild says Chelsea, Liverpool and United are interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. His centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, having been linked with the Premier League's elite.

Liverpool are preparing a £40m bid for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, reports Football Insider. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his injury-hit defence amid a difficult 2020-21 campaign.

- The Daily Mail says United are considering a move for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. The 18-year-old defender has impressed since joining the Toffees.

Leipzig lead the race to sign Ajax sensation Brian Brobbey, according to Diario AS. United, Milan and Bayern have also been linked.

Milan and Inter target Odilon Kossounou – who plays for Club Brugge - is also wanted by Premier League duo Arsenal and Wolves, claims The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are eyeing Leicester City winger Timothy Castagne, who arrived from Atalanta at the start of the season.

Jurgen Klopp said losing star captain Jordan Henderson to injury was a "massive blow" after Liverpool's faltering Premier League title defence hit a new low on Saturday.

Henderson suffered a groin injury as champions Liverpool were upstaged by Everton 2-0 in Saturday's Merseyside derby at Anfield.

After Richarlison put Everton ahead in the second minute, Henderson was forced off the field by the half-hour mark as Liverpool's injury crisis mounts.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty with seven minutes remaining condemned Liverpool to their first home defeat to neighbours Everton since 1999.

"It's a massive blow losing Hendo [Jordan Henderson] again, massive, but Nate [Nathan Phillips] played a super game," Liverpool manager Klopp told reporters post-match.

"Again, we got used to it, unfortunately, that we have to change things,

"We just try to set up again for the next game and as long as we have 11 players we will do that.

"The boys are still full of desire, I see that. But to change a football game, a result, to get the result you have to be decisive in the right moments, defensively and offensively and that's what we are lacking."

Liverpool were already without Fabinho – himself a stand-in for Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury in October's reverse fixture at Goodison Park.

Liverpool have lost four consecutive home league games for only the second time, last doing so back in December 1923 – when they were also defending top-flight champions.

Everton picked up their first win over Liverpool in 24 meetings in all competitions (D12 L11) – ending what was the Reds' longest ever unbeaten run against a single opponent.

Everton ended over 21 years of hurt as they beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time this century in Saturday's headline Premier League game.

That triumph over defending champions Liverpool came after Chelsea had drawn with Southampton, while Burnley and West Brom also shared the spoils at Turf Moor.

In the day's other game, Fulham boosted their survival bid with a 1-0 victory over lowly Sheffield United.

Using Opta data, we look at key facts from the four Premier League games.

LIVERPOOL 0-2 EVERTON: RICHARLISON AND SIGURDSSON SEAL DERBY BRAGGING RIGHTS

Everton picked up their first win over Liverpool in 24 meetings in all competitions (D12 L11) – ending what was Liverpool's longest ever unbeaten run against a single opponent.

Richarlison's third-minute goal was teed up by James Rodriguez, who has provided more assists in all competitions this season than any other player for Everton (eight). It was the Toffees' second-fastest Premier League goal scored against Liverpool, behind only Olivier Dacourt's first-minute strike in April 1999.

Brazil forward Richarlison became only the third Everton player to score in successive Premier League appearances at Anfield for the club, after Tim Cahill in March 2006 and Kevin Campbell in October 2000.

Liverpool dominated possession, with Jordan Pickford making six saves, including standout stops from Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have lost four consecutive home league games for only the second time, last doing so back in December 1923 – when they were also defending top-flight champions. The result ended Everton's run of 23 winless Anfield clashes with Liverpool without a win in all competitions (D10 L13) since a 1-0 victory in September 1999.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has suffered four consecutive league defeats for the first time since November 2014 when he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund, while he has lost four in a row at home in league competition for the very first time in his managerial career.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty settled the contest, and the Iceland playmaker has now scored five away goals against Liverpool in all competitions – more than he has away at any other opponent in his career in England.

SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 CHELSEA: SAINTS HALT LOSING STREAK AS TUCHEL STALLS

Southampton ended a run of six successive Premier League defeats, the club's worst losing run in their league history, as they earned a point against Chelsea.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel became the 16th manager in Premier League history to avoid defeat in his first six games in the competition (W4 D2) and the first since Maurizio Sarri in September 2018, also with Chelsea. However, he did see his side's four-match winning streak come to an end.

Southampton took the lead through Takumi Minamino, who became the first opposition player to score against Tuchel's Chelsea in all competitions, ending a run of 572 minutes without such a goal for the German manager (Antonio Rudiger scored an own goal against Sheffield United).

The draw means Saints have lost 18 points from leading positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.

Mason Mount's penalty pulled Chelsea level – Southampton have now conceded five goals from the spot this term. Only in 1993-94 and 2016-17 (both six) did Saints concede more goals from the spot in a Premier League campaign.

Mount became the 25th different player to score a penalty for Chelsea in the Premier League, with the Blues having more penalty scorers than any other team in the competition's history.

FULHAM 1-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED: LOOKMAN LIFTS COTTAGERS

Fulham's resurgence continued as they picked up just their second victory in 14 Premier League home games (W2 D4 L8) and first since beating West Brom in November.

Scott Parker's team have now taken seven points from their last three league matches and are just three points from safety.

Lowly Sheffield United, meanwhile, missed out on the chance to move off the bottom, and the Blades have only won two of their 28 Premier League games in London (D8 L18), winning at Chelsea in October 1992 (2-1) and Crystal Palace in February 2020 (1-0).

Ademola Lookman scored the winner, and the on-loan winger has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other Fulham player this season (four goals, three assists).

BURNLEY 0-0 WEST BROM: NO GIVE AT TURF MOOR

A clean sheet finally arrived for West Brom, as they registered their first in 15 Premier League games since a 1-0 win at home to Sheffield United in November.

The Baggies had the best chances to snatch a much-needed win, but ultimately Sam Allardyce – whose side lost Semi Ajayi to a red card in the first half – had to settle for a draw.

The last two occasions West Brom have received a red card and avoided defeat in a Premier League game have both been against Burnley (they won 1-0 in August 2017).

Burnley have won just one of their eight Premier League meetings with West Brom (D4 L3), earning a 2-1 success at the Hawthorns in March 2018.

Since the start of last season, Burnley have kept 24 clean sheets in the Premier League – only Manchester City (31) have had more in this period.

Jurgen Klopp questioned the decision to award Everton a late penalty that condemned Liverpool to a 2-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Carlo Ancelotti's visitors sealed a first win at the home of their near neighbours in almost 22 years on Saturday thanks to strikes from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

It was Sigurdsson's 83rd-minute spot-kick, after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was adjudged to have been fouled in the box, that most irked the losing manager.

Referee Chris Kavanagh was asked to inspect the incident at the pitchside monitor but stuck with his original decision, much to Klopp's dismay.

Asked about the incident at his post-match press conference, the Liverpool boss said: "I really think it's unfair to ask me because everybody asks me, which means everybody thinks it was not a penalty.

"But that's not really important because the ref thought it's a penalty. I wanted to talk to him after the first few interviews I had but he left already.

"I [wanted to ask] what did he see? Because the VAR calls you over in a situation like that, then I think he is in doubt about the decision.

"But he needed only a second; he went there, watched it from three, four yards and, yeah, penalty.

"He saw, obviously, something all the people didn't see. I didn't see it back yet but everybody who sees it tells me the same: 'How can it be a penalty?'"

As they contend with the disappointment of derby defeat, Liverpool must also count the cost of yet another injury blow following Jordan Henderson's first-half withdrawal.

On his captain, Klopp added: "It's the groin/adductor region and nobody in the medical department was kind of positive about it.

"So, it doesn't look good but we have to wait for the scan tomorrow, hopefully."

As for the game as a whole, Klopp highlighted an early moment of defensive sloppiness and profligacy at the other end of the pitch as the reason for Liverpool's downfall.

Asked about how much the result had hurt, he said: "A lot. A lot. But we conceded a completely unnecessary first goal, let's not forget that, and that's a big part of the game.

"There are two big parts, you have to defend and you have to score, and in one situation we didn't defend well enough so they could score.

"We made a mistake, if you want. And we didn't use things we created and that's why we have the result."

Graeme Souness slammed Liverpool as an "easy touch" as he reflected on their first Merseyside derby defeat at Anfield since 1999.

Jurgen Klopp's side were on the backfoot from just the third minute on Saturday as Richarlison coolly finished at the Kop end after getting on the end of a James Rodriguez throughball.

The hosts created a number of chances in response but, after failing to take them, saw their fate sealed when Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a late penalty.

Souness believes Everton were good value for their first win against the Reds in over a decade, and was disappointed with the manner of the reigning Premier League champions' performance.

He told Sky Sports: "It was a shadow of a Liverpool team. 

"It was thoroughly deserved by Everton. They were set out to be hard to play against them. They did the business, Everton. 

"The goalkeeper's made a really good couple of saves, which is why goalkeepers are in goal. 

"They deserved it today, but I’m really disappointed with my team [Liverpool]. They didn’t look as if they had any fight, any energy about them and the best team took the points today.

"The first 10 minutes of the second half – I expected a reaction and we got that, kicking into an empty Kop, but after 10 minutes that faded as well. 

"No Liverpool player can come off there and think, 'I've had a good game tonight'. They look like a shadow of a team. 

"You think of the team that Liverpool have been for three years, that nobody wanted to play against, always on the front foot, super aggressive and now everybody wants to play against them. 

"They're an easy touch. That hurts me to say that – they're an easy touch."

Seamus Coleman called on Everton to use their long-awaited Merseyside derby win to propel themselves in the challenge for Europe after Carlo Ancelotti's team claimed a 2-0 victory at Anfield.

Premier League champions Liverpool suffered their first home defeat to their city rivals since September 1999 as Richarlison's early strike and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late penalty secured all three points for the Toffees.

It also ended a decade-long wait for a win over their neighbours in any competition home or away for Everton, while they have won eight of their 12 away league games this season (D2 L2) – only in 2008-09 have they won more on the road in a Premier League campaign (nine).

Liverpool on the other hand have lost their last four home games in the league, and their last four top-flight matches overall in the top flight.

Among defending Premier League champions, only Leicester City in 2016-17 (21) and Chelsea in 2015-16 (30) have had fewer points after 25 games the season after winning the Premier League title than Liverpool's 40 this campaign.

Yet Liverpool's struggles are of little concern to Coleman, who was the only player involved on Saturday to have featured in Everton's last win over Liverpool in October 2010.

"It's an amazing feeling. Coming here over the years and letting ourselves down but more importantly letting the Blue side of the city down," Coleman told Sky Sports.

"It's been hard, we can put a face on it and try and brush it off but when I've been in the city for 10 years it's difficult to take, you feel sorry for the fans and get fed up of coming out with the same cliches after losing to them, so to be honest, thanks to the manager for the way he set us up, the players put in an unbelievable shift against the champions – we're delighted."

Everton were set up in a defensive shape by Ancelotti but offered a threat on the break, and Coleman explained how the Italian came up with a masterplan.

"I had to follow Andy Robertson, I think the last time I had to do a job like that I was at Stamford Bridge trying to follow Ashley Cole around the pitch!" Coleman said.

"For the team it was about staying compact, it is difficult to be brave and we probably didn't play as much as we'd like. We got the result."

However, Coleman knows Everton cannot rest on their derby triumph. The Toffees are seventh, but level on points with Liverpool with a game in hand, and only three points off the top four.

While they are in brilliant form on the road, Everton have lost four of their previous five home league matches, including defeats to strugglers Fulham and Newcastle United.

"For us now, move on from it as quickly as possible, because it can't just be a celebration," Coleman added.

"That goes back to the likes of Fulham and Newcastle at home, we need to start being better all round. All credit, enjoy it. We've got 10 days now until the next game. That's for all the Evertonians over the last number of years who have struggled."

Ancelotti, meanwhile, echoed the club captain's thoughts.

He added: "Really pleased. Really happy for the club and supporters.

"I can only imagine if our supporters were there tonight, but I hope for sure they are going to celebrate. It was a good performance. A lot of fight, a lot of spirit – really happy!

"We did really well away. At home we have had a lot of problems, we need to find more consistency at home and we are working on this.

"We are fighting for Europe and now we are in a good position. This kind of performance can improve the belief of the team."

Liverpool fans are sure to already be feeling sufficient hurt from Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Everton.

The Reds came into this Merseyside derby having not lost to their rivals in over a decade, while you had to go back as far as 1999 for a loss at Anfield.

But this is a result that held significance beyond local bragging rights - it could well be the one that condemns Jurgen Klopp's side to Europa League football next term.

It is not necessarily that the gap is too big, with Liverpool still just three points behind fourth place despite their recent woeful run.

Nor is it that the opposition are too good - Chelsea also dropped points on Saturday, Everton still trail their neighbours, and Leicester City showed last year that they are capable of a late-season collapse.

Yet it is almost impossible to imagine the reigning champions making any of that pay as they contend with injury problems that simply refuse to ease.

Klopp started this game with his 17th different centre-back partnership of the season in defence, none of whom had made it through three consecutive games.

And that dreadful record was extended in the first half as Jordan Henderson limped off to be replaced by Nat Phillips.

The long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have not just left a hole in the defence, they have also put too much demand on their replacements.

It is no coincidence that two of them - Henderson and Fabinho - are both now sidelined with muscle problems. 

Throw in the fact they are also being desperately missed in midfield and that the acquisition of the inexperienced Ozan Kabak now looks like little more than desperation and it does not add up to a solid foundation.

Of course, the problems don't just stop there, as one goal in almost nine hours of football at Anfield underlines.

The loss of Diogo Jota as a rotational option during a season more relentless than any other is no doubt part of that - again, it comes back to injuries.

Things may ease slightly on that front in the coming days, with Jota, James Milner and Fabinho close to returning, though Klopp must now wait nervously on Henderson.

Still, these players will come back into a Liverpool team that has just lost four on the bounce in the league at home for the first time since 1923 and is well short of confidence.

Only a huge change in fortunes on the fitness front will allow the Reds to put together the sort of turnaround in form that would make a top-four finish a possibility.

But supporters won't be holding their breath, and the consequences of that are sure to be far-reaching.

The reluctance of the club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, to spend during a pandemic was evident in the buy-now-pay-later deals agreed for Jota and Thiago Alcantara over the summer.

There was a notable lack of risk, too, attached to the mid-season loan of Kabak, who arrived from Schalke only with an option to buy attached.

And the Americans are unlikely to be willing to sanction any big-money deals if Champions League money is not present on next season's accounts.

If there is one upside for Liverpool, it is that clubs across Europe who might covet the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are unlikely to be able to finance such moves themselves.

But either way, it is likely that more pain awaits, not just across the remainder of this season, but into the summer as well.

Liverpool suffered a fourth straight Premier League defeat as Everton ended their miserable run at Anfield with a 2-0 victory on Saturday.

In a match that Liverpool went on to dominate after a lacklustre first-half display, Richarlison's third-minute goal and Gylfi Sigurdsson's late penalty proved enough for Everton to claim a first away win over their Merseyside rivals since September 1999.

Liverpool's efforts were not helped by the loss of Jordan Henderson to injury, with Sadio Mane missing two presentable chances that might have made Everton pay for profligate finishing from Seamus Coleman and Richarlison.

The centre of derby drama in recent meetings, Jordan Pickford also played a pivotal role, making a wonderful save from Mohamed Salah, setting the stage for Sigurdsson to condemn Jurgen Klopp's champions to a fourth successive home reverse.

Everton made a blistering start in the blustery conditions – James Rodriguez sliipping a pass through to Richarlison, who finished crisply across Alisson and into the left corner to put the Toffees ahead in a Merseyside derby for the first time since 2010.

Henderson had a winner disallowed by VAR in October's reverse fixture, and his wicked volley would have restored parity if not for Pickford's finger-tip save, with Everton's goalkeeper then denying Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool were dealt a blow on the half-hour as Henderson succumbed to injury, and Coleman should have compounded the hosts' frustration when he met Lucas Digne's cross, only to head straight at Alisson.

Mane twice missed from close range early in the second half, before Michael Keane's last-ditch tackle denied Liverpool's number 10.

A rare Everton attack resulted in Richarlison racing behind Liverpool's defence, only for the Brazilian to hesitate when one-on-one with Alisson.

Salah seemed set to punish Everton when Liverpool carved out another chance, but Pickford rushed out to smother the angle.

And that proved vital, with Calvert-Lewin soon adjudged to have been fouled by Alexander-Arnold at the other end of the pitch after Alisson's fine save.

After a long wait for a VAR check, Sigurdsson slotted in the resulting penalty as Carlo Ancelotti masterminded the Toffees' first derby victory in over a decade.

Jordan Henderson suffered an apparent groin injury in the Merseyside derby as Liverpool's injury woes continued.

With Liverpool trailing to Richarlison's early strike at Anfield, captain Henderson was forced off in the 30th minute. That was shortly after he went close to equalising with a superb volley which was well saved by Jordan Pickford.

Henderson pulled up while tussling with Abdoulaye Doucoure and, though he attempted to carry on, he had to make way for Nathaniel Phillips.

It resulted in another makeshift, untested centre-back pairing of Phillips and Ozan Kabak for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who was already unable to call on Fabinho, himself a stand-in for Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk.

Van Dijk sustained a potentially season-ending knee injury in October's reverse fixture at Goodison Park.

Liverpool's defence was immediately tested after Henderson's departure, with Alisson keeping out Seamus Coleman's close-range header.

Jurgen Klopp named an unchanged starting XI for Liverpool's meeting with Everton at Anfield.

With James Milner, Fabinho and Diogo Jota still sidelined, the Reds boss had few rotational options available to him ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby.

And that was reflected in Klopp naming the same team that earned a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the first leg of the sides' Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, which meant skipper Jordan Henderson once again was named as the partner for Ozan Kobak in the centre of defence.

There was, though, one new face among the squad, with Naby Keita sufficiently fit to claim a place on the bench after his recent injury.

As for Everton, they were able to welcome back the influential Dominic Calvert-Lewin from a two-game absence necessitated by a muscle problem, though he was only fit enough for the bench.

The same goes for midfielder Allan, who has been out since mid-December due to a hamstring issue.

With Yerry Mina ruled out due to injury, Carlo Ancelotti named Seamus Coleman in starting XI, with Ben Godfrey moving inside to the centre of a three-man defence.

Carlo Ancelotti dismissed rumours James Rodriguez could leave Everton, insisting the playmaker was "happy" at the club.

A report suggested James, who joined Everton from Real Madrid in September last year, was unhappy and could consider a switch to Atletico.

But Ancelotti played down that talk ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby against Liverpool.

"He is okay, he has no problem. I talk to him every day, he is happy here, confident, motivated," the Everton manager told a news conference.

"He had a little problem in the last few games with his calf. But now he is in good condition. He really feels good here because everyone takes care of him, and that's it.

"I don't know if he complains about the weather, but the weather we know that it is not the best weather ever, but there are a lot of things good in this area."

James has scored five goals and provided three assists in 17 Premier League games this season.

No Everton player has created more chances than his 30, 22 of which have been in open play, or his eight big chances.

Everton are seventh in the table and three points behind sixth-placed Liverpool, although they have a game in hand.

Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool can have a little more luck with regards to injuries next season, believing a full-strength squad would see them sitting much closer to runaway leaders Manchester City. 

Liverpool finished 18 points clear of second-place City in the 2019-20 Premier League season as they ended a 30-year wait to be crowned champions again. 

However, while they have struggled in the defence of their title, Pep Guardiola's squad are once again the team to beat. They set a new record with Wednesday's 3-1 triumph at Everton, becoming the first top-flight team to start a calendar year with 10 straight league victories. 

The Reds' focus has switched to finishing in the top four - they sit in fifth place ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby, 16 points behind City - but Klopp feels such a huge gap would not have existed if he had key players available. 

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been long-term absentees, with fellow centre-back Joel Matip now out for the rest of the season. Diogo Jota, meanwhile, has not featured since December 9, while Naby Keita is only just nearing a return having yet to make an appearance in 2021. 

Asked in his pre-match media conference about what it will take to be closer to City next season, Klopp replied: "We don't have to think about that now.

"We don't play them this year anymore - probably not, maybe the Champions League. For next year, then we have a little bit more time.  

"It's never the case that we thought, 'How can we overtake City and become the finest team in English football?'. We never saw it like this – we wanted the best version of ourselves.  

"We have that chance again, then if that's good enough, it's good enough. If another team is better, then that's how sport works. You cannot do more than be the best version of yourselves.   

"That's what we really try again, as a team especially. We need a little bit more luck, then a few other things as well.  

"But, in the beginning, slightly more luck with injuries would help. Then we can come closer to them.  

"I think we can all agree if I would say, probably Pep would say it too, that a full season for both teams and we wouldn't be 16 points away. But we are. That's how it is, we accept that.  This season, though, it is not about how close we can come to Manchester City."

Van Dijk has been out of action since the previous Merseyside derby at Goodison Park, back in October 2020.  

The defender was hurt early in proceedings following a challenge from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, while team-mate Thiago Alcantara also suffered an injury in the game after a wild tackle from Richarlison that saw the Brazilian sent off. 

Klopp, however, made clear the game takes on no extra importance because of what happened in that 2-2 draw last year, as Liverpool look to avoid suffering four consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since December 2002.  

"We play the way we play. It's very emotional but we are always emotional, to be honest," Klopp - who confirmed on Friday that Fabinho will not feature at Anfield - said. "That's our way to play.  

"What the other teams do I don't know, because I have no influence on that. I can imagine that after the first game you try to create some stories around that, but we will be prepared for a football game, for a derby, like we always do.  

"Nobody can say about his team that they are not ready for derbies, from an attitude point of view, from an understanding point of view over how important it is.  

"This team always was [ready] and will be tomorrow. Obviously, there are stories around, all these kind of things, but I have nothing to say."

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