Frank Lampard is facing arguably the biggest challenge of his managerial career thus far as he tries to steer Everton away from the Premier League relegation zone, with a number of financial and political issues going on in the background.
It’s not helping matters that two of his star players, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, are enduring a bad patch of form at a difficult, high-pressure stage of the season.
Richarlison is in a particular poor run, registering just two goals and one assist in all competitions since the start of 2022.
Despite averaging a solid 6.82 match rating across the season in the Premier League, the Brazilian has scored just four goals and created three more, working out at a scoring frequency of one every 365 minutes. That’s not good enough for a player worth £49.5m (as per Transfermarkt) who’s playing for a team fighting for their top-flight lives.
He can still be a hit with fans and critics, with journalist David Prentice once suggesting that the forward “makes things happen” for the Toffees.
Club and international team-mate Allan also heaped praise on him last month, saying: “He’s very hard-working and I try to pass on my experience as I get older to help and guide him. I’m sure he will have a great career here at Everton and for the Brazilian national team.”
However, Lampard’s patience with Richarlison must be running out after averaging a 6.45 Sofascore match rating in his last four Premier League games, failing to find the net and missing two big chances in total during that time.
In the Toffees’ last outing, a 5-0 humiliation at the hands of an inconsistent Tottenham, the 24-year-old completed just nine passes in 90 minutes, had zero shots on target, completed zero crosses and won just 43% of his duels.
Recently, there seems to be no fight in the Brazilian. By comparison, 21-year-old Anthony Gordon won 57% of his duels, completed two crosses, made four tackles and two key passes on Monday night despite ending up on the losing team.
Everton need more fight, particularly up top, and more players need to take it upon themselves to follow in Gordon’s lead and give everything they have for the team. While Richarlison is failing to do just that, it might be time for Lampard to make a statement and axe the 24-year-old from the starting line-up for the time being.