Everton’s opening game of the season must have set the nerves jangling when Michael Keane was dispossessed and handed Southampton a shock lead, but Rafa Benitez’s men recovered to ease to a 3-1 victory.
The Spanish boss may need some time to win over the blue half of Merseyside due to his Red history, but Saturday’s win was the first step towards a well-reciprocated olive branch between coach and fans.
Next up is a tough trip to Leeds United, whose supporters will finally be able to watch their team in the Premier League (in the flesh) after 17 painstaking years. The Toffees will have to match the hosts’ intensity and quality all over the pitch – which won’t be easy at all.
Jordan Pickford (GK) – He couldn’t keep a clean sheet against Southampton last weekend, although that was through no fault of his own. Pickford’s job will be to shut out a Leeds side looking to bounce back – good luck.
Seamus Coleman (RB) – Experience is an invaluable commodity in the Premier League, and Coleman has got it in abundance. He’ll start on the right.
Mason Holgate (CB) – He got the nod ahead of Yerry Mina on Saturday, and gave a good account of himself. Nothing should change.
Michael Keane (CB) – The defender endured a bit of a nightmare start to the season by handing Southampton the lead, but Keane recovered to steady himself. Bouncebackability.
Lucas Digne (LB) – The Frenchman returned from injury at Euro 2020 to start against Saints, and he’ll be even sharper against Leeds. He’ll need to be sharper against a more fearsome opposition, too.
Allan (CM) – Hardworking and an often unsung hero in the midfield battle, Allan will have his work cut out against a tireless Leeds outfit. A tasty one to keep an eye on, though.
Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – The box-to-box midfielder promised to add more goals to his game, and that’s exactly what he did against Saints. A fine finish from Doucoure puts him on the goal trail for the trip to Leeds.
Andros Townsend (AM) – A surprise signing that few saw coming, but Townsend has enjoyed a good start to life on Merseyside. He can operate behind the striker or move out wide in a 4-4-2 system.
Demarai Gray (RW) – Like Townsend, this deal came as a surprise – but he’s got off to a flyer. Gray did the business on the weekend, and will be raring to go.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (ST) – What is there to say? Calvert-Lewin is the talisman of this side, and even if he were only half fit, he’d be out there. The England man is a shoo-in to start – and probably score.
Richarlison (LW) – Olympic gold medalist Richarlison came back with a bang last weekend, and Benitez will expect exactly the same from him again.