A lot of Evertonians would have been surprised to see Richarlison’s name on the substitutes list on Sunday afternoon when Everton hosted rivals Liverpool at Goodison Park in the Merseyside Derby.
Manager Marco Silva opted for Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the lone striker, while Theo Walcott started on the right-wing with Bernard on the left.
Everton hung on for a goalless draw and prevented the Reds from picking up crucial points for their title challenge and in the end, it was the perfect tactical performance by Silva’s men.
The decision to play Richarlison from the bench definitely would’ve surprised Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp as well before kickoff but it showed the great understanding there is between Silva and the Brazilian.
The two have had a special bond since their time at Watford and it was clearly a tactic to try and outsmart Liverpool who probably wondered why Silva would leave his best goalscorer on the bench.
The match saw Walcott and Bernard put in a solid performance and they showed great determination to try and create opportunities under difficult circumstances.
Having started on the left-wing in last week’s match at Cardiff City, Richarlison didn’t form that great of a partnership with left-back Lucas Digne.
While, on Sunday, the linkup play between Bernard and Digne was again a highlight of the Toffees’ performance.
The pair have had relatively good success playing together this season and Digne has particularly been impressive in recent times.
His ability to move forward has helped Bernard to create space on the left-wing and they are both more than capable of whipping crosses into the box with their left-feet.
The result on Sunday also showed that Everton’s success is not determined on what Richarlison brings to the table on the day.
Silva ultimately made it clear that his charges are more than capable of handling the pressure of a team like Liverpool without their main attacking threat.
All-in-all it was a performance which should give the Everton camp a lot of confidence heading forward this campaign.