By Carl Markham, PA
Under-pressure Everton manager Rafael Benitez’s problems continue to mount after Richarlison was ruled out for a number of weeks while Andros Townsend has been sidelined by a fractured bone in his foot.
Richarlison was one of the major talking points of Sunday’s defeat at Crystal Palace as Benitez replaced him early in the second half with his side trailing 2-0, prompting open dissent from travelling fans.
Benitez said post-match that the Brazil international had sustained a calf problem and a subsequent scan has revealed a tear which the club say will rule him out for “a number of weeks”.
Last season’s leading scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been out since August with a thigh problem and although he is edging closer to a return, the loss of Richarlison and Townsend for a significant period at a key point in the season is a huge blow to Benitez, whose side have taken just four points from the last 40 available.
Townsend sustained a small fracture in his foot in Sunday’s game and his injury will be assessed by specialists but midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has just returned from a similar problem and he missed five weeks.
In addition, captain Seamus Coleman sustained bone bruising and soft tissue damage late against Palace and will be assessed over the coming days.
Benitez was already without midfielder Tom Davies (knee) and defender Yerry Mina, who lasted just 31 minutes on his comeback after two months out before sustaining a calf problem.