Alex Iwobi is dreaming Everton can use the absence of fans to their advantage as they prepare for the crunch clash against Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
In the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the city rivals are set to go head to head at an empty Anfield in the Premier League this afternoon.
Everton can move level with Liverpool should they earn all three points at a venue where the Reds have recently seen their long unbeaten run ended – by Burnley and then Brighton.
Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin cancelled out goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah during the corresponding fixture at Goodison Park in October – but can the Blues go one better this time around as they aim to claim Merseyside bragging rights for the first time since 2010?
In an interview with BBC Sport, Iwobi said: “With the way Anfield is set up, it’s almost like the fans are on the pitch. It may be a bit of an advantage for us, but it’s a Merseyside derby so both teams are going to be up for the game.
“I haven’t been able to go into the town as much because of coronavirus, but I’m even seeing red and blue cars and straightaway I know what’s what.
“When I’m going towards the stadium for games, I see Everton flags on houses and Liverpool flags on cars. It’s a big rivalry and a big division.”
Interestingly, having progressed through the ranks with Arsenal, the Nigerian international made exactly 100 appearances for the Gunners in the Premier League before making the switch to Everton in 2019.
Since then, Iwobi has racked up a further 45 games in the top-flight, including his latest outing against the runaway leaders Manchester City on Wednesday night.
— Alexander Iwobi (@alexiwobi) February 12, 2021
“Growing up in the Arsenal system, I played numerous positions. So for me to play right wing-back, I wasn’t really lost as people would’ve thought I would be,” the 24-year-old opened up on his development.
“It wasn’t really difficult for me to adjust. With the manager Carlo Ancelotti, I’ve improved a bit more with my final third, end product. If I do beat a man, then I’m able to create a chance for my team-mates. That’s what he wants me to do a bit more.”