Everton remain without a Premier League win this season but Frank Lampard believes Saturday’s performance in the goalless draw with rivals Liverpool points the way to success.
Although the visitors finished well on top Everton were the better side for much of the first half, striking the post through Tom Davies before Liverpool hit the frame of the goal three times themselves, ultimately frustrated by the outstanding Jordan Pickford.
Everton sit just above the bottom three in the early standings with four points from six games but Lampard – who had little time to implement his ideas last season after taking over amid a relegation scrap – is encouraged by the football his side are playing.
Amadou Onana had an excellent game against Liverpool, Neal Maupay looked bright on his debut while deadline-day signing Idrissa Gana Gueye added composure in midfield when he came on in the second half.
“I think ‘compromise’ is the word for last season, compromising on ideas,” Lampard said. “For me as a coach it was a great experience to try to find a way which I hadn’t been used to in my coaching career at Chelsea and Derby.
“It was about spirit and the foundation of fight, but to stay in the Premier League you need more than that. Recruitment was a big part of that – we’ve tried to get players who can receive the ball and be comfortable on the ball and make the right decisions.
“A lot of the decisions made (against Liverpool) were a sign of improving against an intense, high-pressing team.
“We want to keep going in that direction. We’re far from the finished article and what we want in that way. We want to have more control, more possession. But I think we saw the ability. It’s good for the lads to feel that. We need to keep working on that.”
Things could have been even better for Everton but for a narrow offside call which saw a 69th-minute strike from Conor Coady ruled out.
Goodison Park erupted when the defender poked home from Maupay’s cross but VAR intervened. Lampard joked that he had not celebrated because he expected the call.
“I though it was offside,” he said. “We’re Everton, aren’t we? It’s going to be offside.
“I didn’t really celebrate because I thought it was going to be close. I didn’t have the angle (to see) but just by the nature of the angle I assumed he was in a possible offside position.”
Maupay, made to wait for his debut after paperwork kept him out of Tuesday’s draw with Leeds, was a constant pest to the Liverpool defence, offering the Everton attack a much-needed focus.
And Lampard is optimistic Dominic Calvert-Lewin, plagued by injuries for so much of his tenure, will soon be back to add another threat.
“Dominic will be training next week, we hope,” he said of the player who got the goal against Crystal Palace last season to secure Everton’s survival. “At that point we’ll have good options.
“Dominic is a big player for us. I haven’t experienced him as much I would want but I experienced one of the best days of my life when he headed in that ball last year.
“We understand what he can bring to the team. Hopefully we can get him fit and firing and then our options look stronger, naturally, because he’s an England striker.”