With Everton going through October and November without a win in the Premier League, Toffees boss Rafa Benitez has a tough test ahead of him to get December off to a good start with Liverpool making the short trip to Goodison Park on Wednesday evening.
In terms of which player Benitez could select to start in his first Merseyside Derby as Everton boss after losing 1-0 away at Brentford last weekend, one individual that featured against Thomas Frank’s side that should not be in the starting XI to face Liverpool is Andros Townsend.
In the 70 minutes he was on the pitch against Brentford before being replaced by Demarai Gray, as well as giving the penalty away that Ivan Toney scored to secure the three points for the home side, Townsend failed to display much of an attacking impact for the Toffees.
He took no shots at goal, didn’t complete any dribbles and misplaced six crosses and two long balls.
The Liverpool Echo picked up on this side of his game on this occasion by saying that “his attacking output was generally below-par.”
This latest Everton performance earned Townsend an underwhelming overall match rating of 6.4/10 according to SofaScore, making him one of the lowest-rated players on the day for Benitez’s struggling side.
That was even lower than fellow Toffees attacker Alex Iwobi who proved to be one of the only Everton players to deliver a decent performance against Brentford, as the much-maligned forward registered two shots and two dribbles in the final third.
The fact Townsend has not managed to score a goal or provide an assist for Everton since he found the net against Manchester United at Old Trafford back in early October suggests he’s holding the team back somewhat.
With the arrival of Liverpool on Wednesday in mind, Everton won’t be able to have any passengers in this game when you consider the Reds have managed to score a total of 39 league strikes so far this season and have won their three previous league games across all competitions.
That’s a run that’s seen them net ten goals, keeping three clean sheets in the process, which could put Townsend’s place in the team in danger on this occasion.
Either way, whether Benitez picks Townsend to start against Liverpool or not, the Toffees need to turn their poor results around as soon as possible and a win against their bitter rivals could be exactly what they need to push on and get the season back on track.