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Boiling over... Everton and Liverpool players tussle during the English Premier League match at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England. Image Credit: AP

When Rafa Benitez was sacked in January as Everton manager, many felt it was already too late and that the axe ought to have fallen months earlier.

They felt the damage had already been done and many tipped the team - who were 6 points clear of the dreaded drop when the former Liverpool boss was sacked - to be relegated.

Everton turned to Frank Lampard to revive the team’s fortunes. But under the former Chelsea coach, Everton have played 12 matches and won just 3. They have now crossed the line into the Premier League’s danger zone and are 2 points from safety. Their proud 68-consecutive year stay in the top flight is in real danger.

Fight and spirit

Burnley leapfrogged the Blues when they beat Wolves 1-0 on Sunday and it meant Everton needed points in their next game. But that was always going to almost impossible as they were to face title-chasing Liverpool. The Toffees showed plenty of fight and spirit in the derby and that will have pleased Lampard, but they lost 2-0.

Now he has the unenvious task of trying to lift a squad for their next match against Chelsea who will arrive at Goodison Park on Sunday confident of getting 3 points. It doesn’t get any easier for Everton, stalwarts of the Premier League, with tough games still to come against Leicester, Watford, Brentford and Arsenal. There is a real feeling amongst the fans that for the first time in 71 years the team will be relegated.

They have lost 19 times this season in 32 games and have the worst away record in the division. Just 6 points have been claimed on their travels. Everton have a game in hand on Burnley meaning their Premier League fate is in their hands. But it will be almighty task for them to stay up.

New players

When owner Farhad Moshiri arrived 6 years ago, he pledged to throw funds at improving the squad and to his credit he did. £500m has been spent on new players but it has made the team markedly inferior. Instead of going upwards like Moshiri had hoped, the club looks to be heading down to the Championship. It is an epic tale of football mismanagement. There has not been a proper plan in place. Money has been squandered on poor acquisitions and coaches have been chopped and changed far too often.

The board is to blame for much of the mess the team is in but new boss Lampard must take a share as he has not been able to get the requisite results since replacing Benitez. But performances under the new man have been better and if Everton can play like they did against Liverpool then there might just be hope for them yet.