Richarlison lost possession a mammoth 19 times as the Brazilian held Everton back on his return to action at home to West Ham United in Friday night’s 1-0 defeat.
Carlo Ancelotti had been without the 23-year-old for his side’s previous win over Sheffield United through the Premier League’s concussion protocol, having been forced off following a collision with Manchester United defender Eric Bailly during the Carabao Cup quarter-final.
Richarlison, who reportedly earns £90,000-a-week, served the needed period to return for the visit of David Moyes’ Irons to Goodison Park, marking his 15th appearance of the season across all competitions after missing three top-flight fixtures earlier in the campaign through suspension.
The South American often held Everton back on his return to action but saw out the full 90 minutes despite his struggles, with the flow of play never falling in favour of the £54m-rated winger who frequently favoured cutting inside.
Ancelotti fielded Richarlison on the right-wing in the absence of Alex Iwobi, who sustained a small injury in training, while James Rodriguez could only make his return from a calf issue with a seat on the bench.
It was the first time this term that Richarlison has not started a league game on the left-flank, offering an excuse to his numerous runs down blind alleys on a night his passing was often lacking its usual accuracy.
Richarlison completed just 27 of his 38 passes for one key ball, misplaced two of three attempted crosses and failed to find a teammate with one of two long balls, while only beating his marker with one of two attempted dribbles on route to losing possession 19 times, per SofaScore.
The 23-cap international’s rare ventures into the West Ham penalty area further saw the forward fail to test stand-in goalkeeper Darren Randolph, with the Brazilian seeing his only attempt of the game blocked.
Ancelotti will have taken pride in seeing Richarlison contribute defensively with two interceptions, a clearance and a successful tackle to his name, but losing five of nine ground duels, four of five aerial contests and being caught offside once only served to see the former Watford attacker hold Everton back at home to the Hammers.
His challenging return also paved the way for Seamus Coleman to struggle at right-back as the Republic of Ireland international went unnoticed by his teammates whilst making his first top-flight start since November.