Being top for the Merseyside derby an honour, says Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti will be “honoured” to host Liverpool with his side top of the table when the two teams meet in the Merseyside derby after the international break.

The two sides meet at Goodison Park on October 17 in the Premier League’s first match back after the international fixtures, but the defending champions’ stunning 7-2 hammering at Aston Villa means it will not be a meeting of the top two.

It will be 10 years to the day since Everton’s last win over their neighbours – a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta – and in the intervening period Liverpool have prevailed 11 times and there have been 11 draws across all competitions.

However, Everton fans will head into this meeting as optimistic as they have ever been after four successive Premier League wins and seven victories on the bounce in total, which is their best start to a campaign since 1894-95.

“Yeah, it will be difficult, it is a fantastic test against Liverpool,” said Ancelotti, speaking before the shock result at Villa Park.

“We are honoured to play against them at the top of the table. Both of the teams are at the top of the table, it will be a derby, a fantastic game, exciting.

“I hope the international break doesn’t give us more problems and we try to recover the players that are injured in this period and to do our best for the game.”

Ancelotti will hope the two-week break will give him a chance to get some of his injured players fit again.

Defender Seamus Coleman and forward Richarlison both went off in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Brighton to make it nine first-team players on the casualty list.

The signing of Norwich defender Ben Godfrey in a £25million deal is imminent, but the Toffees boss has not ruled out any last-minute surprises ahead of the transfer window closing.

“Wait, wait. Monday is soon, Monday is coming. We have to wait and see what is going on in these two days,” he said.

“You will see, you will see. Maybe something can come. Some new signings are coming.”