Everton first-team coach Craig Shakespeare insists manager Sam Allardyce has yet to pick his starting XI for Sunday's (10 December) clash with Liverpool and has challenged the fringe players set to feature in a dead-rubber Europa League tie against Apollon Limassol to prove their worth ahead of the 229th edition of the Merseyside derby.
Shakespeare and fellow coach Duncan Ferguson will take charge of the already-eliminated Toffees in their final Group E tie at Tsirio Stadium on Thursday evening, with Allardyce unable to travel due to a pre-arranged medical appointment and assistant Sammy Lee remaining at Finch Farm to work with the scores of first-team players that have been left behind.
The absent manager warned travelling supporters earlier this week to be "mindful" that he was set to send a team to Cyprus' southern coast that was "not going to be risking too many players" that would be involved against Liverpool, although it appears there may still be placed up for grabs.
"The team for Sunday hasn't been picked so there is an opportunity as always in any training session for things to change," Shakespeare told reporters in a press conference held on Wednesday afternoon.
"The players should see it as a real opportunity to grasp and force their way back into the team."
The likes of Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Seamus Coleman, Yannick Bolasie, Leighton Baines and Maarten Stekelenburg were unavailable for selection against Apollon Limassol and all look set to remain sidelined for the short trip to Liverpool.
James McCarthy and Sandro Ramirez are two players that would have expected to play some part against a team that currently occupy fifth place in the Cypriot First Division, with suggestions that the former was hoping to get 60 minutes under his belt.
Asked for an injury update on that pair amid rumours that Sandro, who has made just three Premier League starts since arriving at Everton from Malaga in July, had picked up a knock, Shakespeare replied: "Both of those players haven't travelled."
Everton are yet to officially reveal who has and has not made the trip to Limassol, although the Liverpool Echo claim that Under-23 star Harry Charsley is set to start at left-back with fellow youngsters Alex Denny, Fraser Hornby, Nathan Broadhead, Stephen Duke-McKenna, Michael Collins, Shayne Lavery and Anthony Gordon among the other youngsters in the squad.
Joel Robles, Morgan Schneiderlin, Davy Klaassen, Muhamed Besic, Kevin Mirallas, Nikola Vlasic, Ademola Lookman and Beni Baningime are reportedly the only senior players involved, meaning there could be as many as eight debutants.