Frank Lampard is facing the possibility of having no strikers for Everton’s opening Premier League game with Chelsea.
The Toffees kick off their 2022/23 campaign with Thomas Tuchel’s side visiting Goodison Park.
Both sides will be keen to shake off disappointing pre-seasons, with both teams suffering nightmare results.
A 4-0 defeat to Minnesota was a particular low-light for the Merseyside club.
Lampard especially needs a good start to the season after only just keeping Everton in the Premier League.
But he may have to do that with zero recognised strikers at his disposal.
Last campaign’s main man, Richarlison, was sold to Tottenham this summer in a £60million deal.
That means Lampard has been left with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Salomon Rondon as his recognised centre-forwards.
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Unfortunately for Everton, Rondon still has a one-match suspension to serve following his red card against Brentford last season.
He missed the final two games of the campaign, but will be unavailable to face Chelsea on Saturday.
Now Lampard has been dealt a further blow after Calvert-Lewin limped out of training on Tuesday with a freak injury.
Manager Lampard said: “We are assessing Dom’s injury. No timeframe has been confirmed and we are pretty sure what level it is so we are hopeful it is not long-term.
“We’ll miss him for Chelsea. He was looking in great physical condition and was training really well.
“It was a freak injury in training, which does happen. It’s a shame but we have to find the solutions to keep ourselves strong without Dominic before he returns.”
It has been a frustrating last 12 months for the striker, who managed just five goals in 17 Premier League appearances in an injury-hit season.
With Calvert-Lewin and Rondon out, Lampard will have to turn to another player to get goals this weekend.
Dele Alli has often played in the number 10 role behind a main striker and may be the obvious option to play through the middle.
Meanwhile, the club also have a number of wingers who could be used in a false nine role, such as Andros Townsend, Dwight McNeil, Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray.
The Premier League is back and talkSPORT has it covered, with games on Friday, Saturday and Monday, beginning with Crystal Palace vs Arsenal on 5 August
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