Evertonian and Liverpool Echo reporter Phil Kirkbride has issued his verdict on a harsh truth continuing to addle Everton.

The reporter was offering his verdict in an opinion piece highlighting Rafa Benitez’ reliance on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison – both of whom missed the 1-0 West Ham defeat on Sunday through injury.

West Ham kept a clean sheet helped in no small part by some toothless Everton finishing, with Alex Iwobi missing perhaps the most clear-cut Everton chance of the game.

Consequentially, Kirkbride discussed the ‘limitations’ of Everton and their squad, arguing that Benitez is relying on the ‘cavalry’ to return.

Writing in the Echo, Kirkbride declared:

“Benitez has a firm handle on this squad already and though losing the unbeaten start to life at home, you can’t imagine he won’t be overly alarmed with any particular aspect of this defeat.

Yes, the lack of focus for the corner will be top of list, and maybe followed by the sloppy opening 15 minutes, but he knows as well as anyone what kind of a difference Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are sure to have made here.

He won’t need to tell Iwobi what he did wrong in taking his eye off Gray’s cross, as he was about to shoot from seven yards out, as much as he won’t need reminding that the squad remains thin.

Benitez used only one substitute today, bringing Anthony Gordon off the bench not long after West Ham had scored.

The limitations of the squad are clear but, for the most part, they continued to make the best of a far from ideal situation.

Benitez will hope the cavalry arrive sooner rather than later so ensure the fine margins favour Everton.”

Read Everton Verdict

Kirkbride’s stance is one of acquiescence to the circumstances, and it is not hard to see why given that the duo already have four goals between them this season.

However, the likes of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend have stepped up themselves with double the goal tally between them in all competitions.

Resultingly, whilst losing the duo is a big blow that should not take away from two wider issues that Kirkbride touches upon varyingly; depth issues and a gulf in quality with the likes of Iwobi and Salomon Rondon.