Calvert-Lewin and Mina injury update as Benitez makes Everton atmosphere admission ahead of Liverpool derby

The key talking points from the Blues manager’s press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s Merseyside derby.

<p>Rafa Benitez. Picture: Everton FC/ Youtube</p>

Rafa Benitez. Picture: Everton FC/ Youtube

Rafa Benitez has been speaking to the media ahead of Everton’s Merseyside derby showdown with Liverpool at Goodison Park on Wednesday (20.15).

Here are the key points from the Toffees manager’s pre-match press conference.

‘Massive for us’

Everton have been badly out of form recently. Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Brentford extended their winless run to seven matches, with only two points taken in that time.

However, Benitez knows how crucial the Goodison faithful will be as the Blues aim to pull off a big win.

Benitez said: “It’s a massive game for us. We have a bad run now and need to start winning.

“The derby is always an opportunity to put things right and we always think about getting three points.

“Obviously, I know what the derby means for everyone and I’m thinking about how important it will be and want to do well.

“With Newcastle and Chelsea, we play Liverpool in the past. Now it’s with Everton, it’s a derby, it’s a massive game and it’s special.

Ben Godfrey dejected after Everton’s 1-0 loss at Brentford. Picture: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

“We have to do well and it’s an opportunity for us to change things and improve everything for the rest of the season.

“Normally, I like to win every game and this is the most important game for us because it’s the next one.

“If we can get three points, it could be a massive change for our season.

“A derby is a derby and everything can change. You never know, it depends on the atmosphere, how well we can do it and the connection with the fans.

“The fans know they’re really important and massive for us. If we can create a good atmosphere, everything can happen for us.

“The fans are intelligent and know we need them. If they are behind us, the team reacts and the players appreciate that.

“You can complain if the players are not playing well or the tactics are not good enough but, at the same time, they cannot complain about the commitment of the players, the desire and effort.

“That’s what you are expecting from an Everton player - give everything and after, try to play as well as you can.

“They would realise how important they are for the teams and it’s a derby, I’m sure they’ll be behind the team.”

Injury update

Injuries to key players have been a significant reason why Everton’s form has jettisoned.

However, the Blues will still be without Yerry Mina (hamstring) Dominic Calvert-Lewin (quad) and Tom Davies (knee).

Yerry Mina. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Andre Gomes is back training from a calf problem but seems unlikely to start.

“At the moment, we have three injuries,” said Benitez.

We have Tom Davies, Yerry Mina and Calvert-Lewin because Andre Gomes has started training with the team

“We are improving but the problem was key players in key players didn’t allow us to perform as we were in the beginning.

“The results were not good enough and you lose confidence. Hopefully we can start winning tomorrow and things can go back to the beginning, the team working hard and winning games.

“The group of players are the same but Andre Gomes is training.

“They will need some time to gain match fitness but at least they are training now.”

Brentford reaction

Everton fans were left incensed at the final whistle of the Brentford defeat - and videos from the stands highlighted their anger.

Benitez could understand such reaction at the full-time whistle.

The Spaniard said: “At the beginning, we were really happy and now we are frustrated. As a manager, you want to win and do well.

“It is a challenge for me and I am convinced we will do well but I can understand the frustration from the fans.

“There have been some years where we are not improving and we share this frustration.”

Goal drought

Everton have failed to score in their past three games - and netted just one goal throughout November.

Benitez has urged more players to get into the box more frequently, which will increase their threat.

“The other day, we were pushing and attacking enough to score one or two goals,” he added.

“The people around the box - the wingers, the strikers, the second striker, have to get into the box and, to be fair, Doucoure had a couple of chances.

“We have this determination sometimes but have to make sure even more players get into the box to score goals. It’s the way to win games if you can be solid in defence at the same time.”