Sean Dyche’s tenure as Everton manager was brought back down to earth with a bang after suffering a 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.
Everton came into the game with increased belief having beaten league leaders Arsenal last weekend, with Dyche being given a baptism of fire in his new role in charge of the Toffees.
The Blues were second best throughout their trip across Stanley Park, however, and constantly made a number of mistakes all over the pitch and were often second to the ball against a lively Liverpool side.
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring following a rapid counter-attack in the first half, before another counter-attack – following on from an Everton loss of possession early in the second half – saw Cody Gakpo net his first for the club.
Liverpool’s opener came just 18 seconds after James Tarkowski had hit the post at the other end, though Dyche said that it was not a defining moment, before admitting his side were ‘smothered’ by Liverpool.
“The game wasn’t defined in one moment but it was a big moment obviously. We had just calmed the game down. They were on top a little bit without opening us up too many times,” he told Sky Sports.
“The shape was decent, they hadn’t opened us up too many times with the ball. But then you cause trouble at the set piece, you want that to be part of your game. Disappointed with the counter and it was misread for Jordan [Pickford] and that was the story of the first half.
“They smothered us with possession, probably we could have given away a tactical foul to break it up. There is more to come, I’m sure of that but we have got to play as well. The next step is to play and be brave with the ball.
“We have given a lot of information to the players and it is a lot for them to take in. There is work to be done. Last week we beat Arsenal and I wasn’t jumping for joy. No lack of effort or work ethic, it’s still tough coming here but they [Liverpool] are a great side.
“The home crowd were amazing [at Goodison Park] and we need our fans to do that for us away from home. We want bravery at home and away from home from our fans and their energy. The margins were tight.”
Dyche made one change from the side that beat Arsenal. opting to play Ellis Simms as a centre-forward in place of Dominic Calvert-Lewin who has suffered yet another injury.
“Great game for his development, it was a tight call on that one with Neal [Maupay] as well with his extra experience. But he is a young man earning his spurs. He is a young player and he is learning.”
Asked about Calvert-Lewin’s latest absence, Dyche said: “We are just watching it and monitoring it, obviously he needs to get himself right, not just the injury but generally. He has had a tough time so we need to monitor him.”
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