The Whites make the long trip up to Liverpool this weekend to face an Everton side that have had a solid start under their new manager in Marco Silva. He has given them an open attacking style of play, and much like Fulham they often accept defensive vulnerability for attacking flair.
Last weekend’s draw to Watford was an important point against a high flying team that dominated for long periods of the game, especially in the first half. The defensive issues that have regularly occurred came to fruition once more, with Andre Gray pouncing on the defence’s inability to clear the ball despite multiple chances to do so within the first two minutes to give the away side the lead.
£20 million signing Mawson was particularly poor, gifting opportunities to the Watford attack, being dominated by Deeney and picking up a yellow for his efforts. He, alongside McDonald were substituted at half time by Jokanovic for their poor displays.
One man on fire however is Mitrovic, whose 78th minute effort gave the club a barely deserved draw. This, his fifth goal of the season, meant that since his debut for the club in February he has scored more goals (17) than any other player in English football. Slavisa expressed after the game how “important” he is for the team, but also made him aware that he “must keep going.”
Despite only picking up one win so far this season, Everton have often played better than the results have suggested. Their main downfall appears to be the lack of a striker who is capable of scoring 20+ goals a season, as Tosun and youngster Calvert-Lewin have not filled the gaping hole left by Lukaku’s move to Man United last summer.
However, the acquisition of Richarlison looks like an important one despite the huge price tag, as the Brazilian strikes fear into opposing defenders and has already rewarded the club with three goals this season. He openly admits the fantastic relationship he has with the manager from their time together at Watford, and this has enabled him to gain his first national team call up in the previous international break. He must be well marshalled throughout the game, or there is no doubt he will punish.
Thankfully, fan favourite and 2017/18’s player of the year Tim Ream may be fit enough to play his first game of the season at the weekend, which the club will hope to be the key to a more solid defensive performance. Tom Cairney is back in training, but may not be fit enough to make the squad for this week.
Predicted Lineup: Bettinelli, Fosu-Mensah, Chambers, Ream, Sessegnon, Johansen, McDonald, Seri, Vietto, Mitrovic, Schurrle
Predicted Score: 2-2