By Goodison News speaking to Kevin Campbell

31st Dec, 2022 | 7:30am

We’re delighted to welcome former Everton striker Kevin Campbell as our exclusive columnist. Each week the former Toffees captain will be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Goodison Park…

Frank Lampard would be “handing the onus” to Manchester City if he switches Everton to five at the back on New Year’s Eve, says Kevin Campbell.

The Toffees boss saw his side lose to then-bottom Wolves at home on Boxing Day and now faces a trip to the Etihad to face Erling Haaland, whose two goals in City’s win over Leeds on Wednesday (28 December) made him the fastest to 20 in Premier League history.

But despite the offensive firepower that Pep Guardiola’s side posses, Sky Sports pundit Campbell feels a defensive set up would be asking for trouble on 31 December.

Speaking exclusively to Goodison News about changes for the trip to the Etihad he said: “Not necessarily. The players know that they fell asleep [against Wolves]. You don’t to tell them sometimes, they know.

“You’re going up against City and you tend to find the players do step up [against top teams] and I’d like to think that the Everton boys will step and be right up for this one.

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“Because it’s still a big game.

On the prospect of Lampard switching to five in defence he added: “He might do. But that is just handing the onus to Man City really. Having five at the back means you’re light in midfield and up top.

“They’re a possession-based team so you’re just handing the initiative to them.

“I don’t know what Frank Lampard will do, but the key is the players. They have to be up for it, run hard, and compete. That’s for sure.”

It is a pick your poison situation with City, and Lampard was able to grind out some results down the stretch last season by adopting tactics straight out of old boss Jose Mourinho’s book.

Yet setting up to defend away at the Etihad sounds like a recipe for disaster, and would likely rob Everton of what little offensive spark they can currently muster.

A defeat is possible for any team who turn up on the blue side of Manchester but one that displays no fight or invention could be very damaging to the Toffees and their manager.