The Toffees were without striker Dominic Calvert Lewin, whose presence becomes even more crucial following the departure of former talisman Richarlison. The Merseyside Blues, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, had to shuffle their razor-thin pack as a result.
Anthony Gordon, who usually takes up wide spaces, was deployed down the middle, a role the youngster is unfamiliar with.
Unsurprisingly, he failed to make the most of it, and whatever advances Everton managed to make came to a halt upon reaching the final third.
Their attacking endeavours weren’t helped by the performance of new-recruit Dwight McNeil either. The former Villa forward looked average at best and was consequently hooked at the hour mark, with Everton chasing a one-goal deficit against the Blues.
On came Dele Alli, a player whose promise was once so revered that Real Madrid reportedly came knocking. Unfortunately, the former England International has become a shadow of his former self.
Following a downfall you seldom see, the 26-year-old found himself on the fringes of Spurs’ starting eleven and eventually elected to look for playing time elsewhere.
When Frank Lampard took over the reins at Goodison near the end of last season, he cited that Alli’s signing was no panic buy and instead part of a long-term plan. Considering that the midfielder has made 11 appearances in Blue with a G/A of nil, it’s safe to surmise that the vision has been splintered into bits.
As Alli entered the fray yesterday evening, no one really expected him to make a difference, and they were proved right eventually. His stock has plummeted to such a level that even Sky Sports‘ live commentary couldn’t help but aim a dig when Alli came on.
As seen in this viral screen grab, the commentary for the 60th-minute substitution reads, ‘McNeil’s rather underwhelming rebut comes to an end. Talking of underwhelming, Dele Alli is on’. That’s certainly enough to grasp the state of things.
It’ll be interesting to see what comes next for Dele Alli and Everton, as reports have cited that the Toffees may just be looking to cut their losses and move on.