James Rodriguez is one of five Everton players who are isolating because of coronavirus issues and will miss Saturday’s game against Southampton.
The Colombia midfielder, 30, is yet to play in front of Everton fans since he signed in September 2020 because of pandemic crowd restrictions.
Everton boss Rafael Benitez said, “We have some players that are in isolation now, so we have to be very careful.
“Some players have to be at home and James is one of them.”
The five absentees are understood to be isolated cases rather than an outbreak at the club, which will welcome a full house back to Goodison Park for the first time since a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on 1 March 2020.
But it is not clear if they have coronavirus or are isolating because they have been deemed as close contacts.
Benitez confirmed that forward Richarlison, who returned from the Toyko Olympics after winning gold with Brazil, and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be available.
But he admitted he was concerned about how players might be affected after restrictions around the country had been relaxed.
“The main concern for me and for all the managers are the rules around the country so everybody can go outside and do what they want,” he said. “After we have too many controls, it is good.
“Then we can see some issues and problems with Covid-19. We have to manage in the best way possible, we are making an effort to be sure we have some control but it’s very difficult to have full control when everybody around has some freedom.”