Everton manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that Phil Jagielka is available to face Liverpool after recovering from an unspecified knock but revealed that Leighton Baines is still not ready to return from a calf problem that has kept him sidelined for the Toffees' last three matches.
Veterans Jagielka and Baines both suffered knocks during Everton's treacherous defeat to Southampton last month, and the duo have played not any part in their side's recent resurgence which has seen them win their last three matches and climb to the top half of the Premier League table.
Everton have not conceded in each of their last three games against West Ham United, Huddersfield Town and Apollon Limassol but Allardyce is understandably delighted to see Jagielka return to the fold, and also confirmed that Michael Keane is fit and available after coming through a cameo against Huddersfield unscathed.
Everton are not the only side going into the 229th edition of the Merseyside derby without their first-choice left-back; Liverpool's Alberto Moreno will miss the clash at Anfield after suffering an unspecified injury during the Reds' 7-0 win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday, manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.
Jagielka's return slightly eases Everton's injury concerns, but with the likes of Baines, Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman all unavailable, the Toffees will face Liverpool without some of the most vital components of their squad.
"We've got Phil back and Michael Keane back which is good," Allardyce said in his press conference. "Baines, Barkley, Coleman, Bolasie are not in the squad at the moment, as well as others who are a bit more long-standing and would play major parts in Everton's side.
"As soon as we get those back, it gives me a greater headache on team selection. Players have done a fantastic job, two wins back to back, but Liverpool is a different kettle of fish. It's a big game, a big derby against players who are in outstanding form on the frontline."
Allardyce may be disheartened by the length and quality on Everton's injury list, but the former West Ham United boss will be encouraged by Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy's return to first-team training. Allardyce thinks Bolasie needs a couple of matches with the club's youth stars to get up to speed but is opting for caution with McCarthy, who has suffered a whole host of injuries over the last 18 months.
"I saw Yannick Bolasie and James McCarthy training with us. That's good news," Allardyce said. "We have to get them back soon. Yannick is a couple of games with the U23s or behind closed doors away, we could see him on the substitutes' bench to begin with after that.
"I tend to be easier with James (McCarthy) because of reoccurrence, I'm wary of that. Hopefully by the middle of January, I have an even greater headache."
The injuries to some of Everton's key stars will give fringe players a chance of proving their worth against Liverpool, who have not lost to their arch-rivals in over seven years. Ademola Lookman, Nikola Vlasic and Davy Klaassen provided Allardyce with food for thought as they impressed during the Toffees' 3-0 dead rubber against Apollon Limassol in the Europa League, and the 63-year-old confirmed that a number of those who travelled to Cyprus will also make the short trip to Anfield.
"The squad will be assessed on what comes back today, and the lads who stayed with us," Allardyce said.
"Some of those players who played will be on the substitutes' bench. They have impressed me and that's something I want to see. I don't want to see people sulking, I want professionalism and that's what all the players did last night.