By Henry Baines
The blue half of Liverpool have enjoyed a credible start to the season despite suffering their first home defeat against West Ham.
That’s the claim made by Barry Cass, of Toffee TV, as Everton sit on 14 points from eight games.
Cass, known as Baz on the fan-based channel, told Merseysportlive: “I think Rafa Benitez has done really well with the tools that he’s had at his disposal.
“If he does manage to get Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison back in the side, get Mina fit and you get a close to fully fit squad, I think Everton will do even better.”
Getting Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin back as quickly as possible is paramount for Everton to take the pressure off the likes of Gray and Townsend, who have been the main producers this season.
“When you’ve got two goal-scorers in the side like Dominic Calvert Lewin and Richarlison, you’ve got a chance in any game you’re playing,” added Cass.
“Everton are doing well considering we haven’t got our 41 goals, I think it was last season between them, and they’re not in our side.”
A new manager, just £1.7 million spent in the summer and the amount of injuries the Toffees have had to deal with, to be 8th and suffering only two defeats has to be seen as a real positive.
“We’re exactly where I’d thought we’d be even before a ball was kicked,” said Cass.
Everton fans will feel like their club is cursed with injuries as the Toffees have not had a fully fit squad to pick from in months.
Pressure has been heaped on new signing Salomon Rondon, who worked with Benitez at Newcastle United and Dalian Yifang in China, who has struggled.
“The plan was for him to be sub, the plan over the first couple of months was to build up his fitness, and then to be getting 10 to 15 minutes here and there at the end of games.
“But unfortunately, knowing Everton we don’t lose one of our goal-scorers, we lose two.”
No one at Everton could have predicted the reliance on Rondon so early, but he has to start producing quickly in front of goal.
Recent news from the Toffees that Calvert Lewin has suffered another setback means he will be sidelined for “a few weeks yet”.
Doucoure also picked up a knock against West Ham, which adds him to the overpopulated medical room at Goodison Park.
The more fringe players at the club, such as Iwobi, have got to start stepping up into senior roles but it hasn’t been the case.
Against West Ham, Iwobi failed to register a shot on target, a completed dribble, an accurate cross or any key passes.
“Some players just don’t suit your football club, and Alex Iwobi has fallen into that category,” added Cass.
“He’s just not nailing anything. He plays wide and he doesn’t contribute, he goes through the middle where apparently he wants to play, he doesn’t offer anything.”
It’s important Everton bounce back with a win against Watford.
Everton cannot afford to drop more points as they risk giving up early ground in the race for Europe.
With games against Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and the big derby against Liverpool all before Christmas, Everton have an important few weeks ahead.
(pic by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar, creative commons licence)