Given the Toffees were once considered the perennial ‘best of the rest’ Premier League club, with seventh place even colloquially earning the moniker the ‘Everton Cup’ among some fans, Frank Lampard will feel his side can put last season’s relegation struggles to bed and push on for a top-half finish in 2022/23.
It’s not been the best of starts for the Merseyside side club already, entering the new campaign without Richarlison, who left for Tottenham earlier this the window, or Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is currently nursing a knee injury, but new recruits James Tarkowski and Dwight McNeil certainly offer a glimmer of hope.
Under Lampard’s watch, the club also finished last season in strong form, losing just three of their final nine games and masterminding wins over Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City. The former England international will be hoping to see that end-of-season form trickle over to the new campaign.
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It was an uncomfortable campaign for those of an Everton persuasion in 2021/22. Not only did fans have to sit back and reluctantly watch as their Merseyside rivals reached yet another Champions League final under Jurgen Klopp, but their own domestic struggles twisted the knife as they came within an inch of relegation.
Lampard has already made some promising signings this summer to try and rectify the woes of last season, bulking up his defence with the acquisitions of Conor Coady on loan from Wolves and James Tarkowski on a free transfer. Dwight McNeil has also come in to remedy the gaping void left behind by Richarlison.
Despite some tidy business produced by Everton, some may argue that they are not game-changing purchases, and in fact, the club are in an even more perilous position following Richarlison’s exit as well as Calvert-Lewin’s current absence. All that could coalesce to work against Everton and set up another battle to just stay in the division.
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EFL Cup win
Given Everton’s top-flight consistency, fans may be disappointed that they’ve never really managed to put together a decent cup run in the 21st century, last reaching a final in 1995 when they won the FA Cup. Lampard may see his tenure at Goodison Park as the perfect opportunity to go for a cup. If they are too good for relegation, but not quite good enough to break the glass ceiling and push for a top-six finish, then a decent cup run may be the best chance Everton have of producing a memorable campaign. The EFL Cup first round starts up this week, and as a two-time winner himself, Lampard may relish the chance to reach February’s Wembley showpiece.