Bill Kenwright has just witnessed one major Everton issue that Farhad Moshiri pledged to resolve

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright was at Anfield to watch the Merseyside derby defeat having missed the past two Goodison Park matches.
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Sean Dyche did his best to mentor his neophyte striker throughout the opening 45 minutes of the Merseyside derby.

Everton's manager would have handcuffed himself to Ellis Simms had he been allowed and tried to haul him through every move. But Dyche's gruff voice was the only thing available as he desperately tried to instruct and cajole Simms.

For all of Dyche and Simms' best efforts, it proved an exercise in futility. The 22-year-old scarcely made an impact in Everton's 2-0 loss against Liverpool. In truth, it was always going to be a forlorn task.

Simms was playing in League One at Blackpool only two years ago. He was plying his trade for Hearts in Scotland this time last year and was operating in the Championship with Sunderland not even two months ago. Yet the 22-year-old found himself as the vanguard of the Toffees' attack in the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is back on the injury list.

To blame Simms for Everton's defeat against Liverpool would be folly. In fact, it would be preposterous. You couldn't help but have sympathy for him as he started just a second Premier League game of his career - and playing in only a fourth.

Simms had done OK at Sunderland in the first half of this season. Seven goals in 17 appearances is a sound record but there were improvements required when it came to his overall play. What's more, he often struggled to spearhead the front line solo and was more effective alongside strike partner Ross Stewart.

Those issues were exposed in the derby. He was bullied by a Liverpool centre-back pairing in Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, who have been out of sorts in recent weeks. A couple of flick-ons and a blocked shot was as good as it got until Simms was subbed in the 61st minute.

Dyche was left with the choice of a novice or selecting the under-fire Neal Maupay. The physical attributes of Simms resulted in him getting the nod. At least Dyche answered some fans' clamour to give youngsters a chance rather than those who have previously fallen short throughout a lacklustre campaign.

Ellis Simms of Everton is challenged by Joe Gomez of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on February 13, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Ellis Simms of Everton is challenged by Joe Gomez of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on February 13, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Ellis Simms of Everton is challenged by Joe Gomez of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC at Anfield on February 13, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

To be frank, Dyche shouldn't have been put in such a predicament. The injury issues of Calvert-Lewin are scarcely a secret. His prowess when fully fit cannot be disputed - as displayed in the 1-0 defeat of Arsenal. Yet the time he's spent on the treatment table over the past 18 months can't be argued against, either. Calvert-Lewin has been plagued by various issues as his body continues to break down.

Evertonians were in unison as the January transfer window slammed shut. They were acutely aware of the scant attacking options Dyche was left to work with in his task to keep the club in the Premier League. The Blues had known since the hiatus of the campaign for the World Cup in November they needed to bolster their firepower. Somehow, their search failed spectacularly. The Toffees were the only side in the Premier League that did not make a signing last month - despite having what was the second-worst record in front of goal at the time.

What's more baffling is that Anthony Gordon's departure to Newcastle United was sanctioned despite a replacement lined up. Question Gordon's commitment in the latter stages of his Goodison career all you wish. Yet a forward who at that point had scored a fifth of Everton's league goals was allowed to leave. A healthy £40 million was banked - but not reinvested.

Who's responsible for the failure to not recruit an additional attacking option is unclear. However, it could well be to Everton's Premier League detriment.

Dyche can't be blamed. He officially took charge of Everton just a day before deadline day. Still, it was Dyche, less than a week into the job, who was forced to front up and publicly discuss the futile search for firepower at his first press conference.

The Everton manager stressed what he witnessed on deadline day was everyone behind the scenes working hard. That included director of football Kevin Thelwell, majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright. Their collective efforts fell short.

Kenwright was back on Merseyside after missing the past two games at Goodison Park due to safety concerns amid fan unrest towards the board. At Anfield, less than a short one-mile walk across Stanley Park from Goodison, Kenwright was joined by CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale and non-executive director Graeme Sharp and surrounded by fans of the Toffees’ most bitter rivals.

They got a crystal clear view of how short Everton are at the top end of the pitch. Kenwright & Co. had to watch the tenderfoot Simms' onerous evening before Demarai Gray - who operated as an auxiliary number nine - and Maupay entered the fray.

Moshiri, indeed, promised supporters they would sign a striker. Those words proved hollow. Now the rest of the board may just report back to Moshiri how costly failing to strengthen the attack could be in the bid to retain the club's perpetual Premier League status.