Rio Ferdinand has backed Everton to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United for the Premier League title.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team are eight points off leaders United with two games in hand on Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Red Devils.
Everton have won five of their previous six league matches, too, including impressive victories against Leicester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.
The Toffees face Brendan Rodgers’ PL high-flyers next week in what will be an intriguing tactical battle between two elite coaches, and Ferdinand believes both teams should have a shout at the title this season.
Speaking with BT Sport, Ferdinand believes all of the current top-six all have a legitimate shot at winning England’s biggest prize.
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He said: “If you look at the league, you’ve got Man United, Man City, Tottenham…
“I think down to Everton. You can’t discount Everton playing a part in this because of the manager.
“Ancelotti knows what it takes to win a league. He’s got a very good team there, the squad depth probably isn’t what he would like but I think you’ve got to look at down to Everton.”
What RTK has to say – Is Ferdinand right? Can Everton challenge Liverpool?
In the midst of the most chaotic and physically gruelling season in living memory, all bets are off.
At this same stage last season, Liverpool were 37 points clear of their Merseyside rivals. The fact such a chasm in quality has been reduced so significantly this season suggests a lot has changed.
For one, Liverpool have seen their squad decimated in recent months. Jurgen Klopp and his team have been without a number of key players for the majority of the season including Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Still, Everton and Ancelotti certainly deserve credit for closing the gap between the two teams.
Remarkably, if the Toffees win their game in hand, they will leapfrog Liverpool in the Premier League table.
Luckily, Liverpool have the chance tonight to get further ahead tonight and return to winning ways. The English champions are scheduled to play Burnley under the lights at Anfield at 20:15 GMT.