Sean Dyche is ignoring one obvious answer to improve Everton’s goal record

Everton have scored just 16 goals in the Premier League as they prepare to face relegation rivals Leeds United.

Sean Dyche and his backroom staff will have been forced back to the drawing board at Finch Farm this week.

The bones will be picked thoroughly from Everton’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby. Where the Toffees went wrong will be identified and aimed to be rectified.

How Everton can defend against counter-attacks will be one aspect. Both of Liverpool’s goals were engineered from swift breakaways. And increasing the Blues’ goal threat another.

Putting the ball in the back of the net has been a season-long issue. Under former manager Frank Lampard, the Blues lacked any sort of venom in the final third. And while Everton created several gilt-edged chances in Dyche’s first game in the hot seat, a 1-0 defeat of Arsenal, they were largely toothless at Anfield.

There was one mitigating circumstance that was glaring; the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The striker was a battering ram when spearheading the attack against Arsenal. Yet he’s picked up a hamstring injury, having been plagued with problems for the past 18 months.

Replacements for Calvert-Lewin in the current squad are at a paucity. Youngster Ellis Simms was given the nod against Liverpool yet his inexperience was stark. Neal Maupay’s the only other option to start against Leeds United this Saturday but he’s scored just one goal since arriving from Brighton last summer.

In a Premier League relegation scrap, Everton are going to augment their threat in front of goal. With the worst goals-for-record in the top flight, a meagre 16, Dyche scarcely needs reminding. He has tried to find a remedy.

In Dyche’s opening two games, it’s abundantly clear that scoring from set-pieces will be imperative. Indeed, data from Statsbomb in 2017 revealed that 25-33% of all goals scored were engineered via dead-ball scenarios.

With that in mind, the Toffees cannot afford to be profligate when it comes to deliveries into the box - and those attacking the ball must show intent to get on the end of things.

James Tarkowski has certainly displayed the required desire in the 18-yard area. The centre-back crashed home the winner against Arsenal before cannoning a header against the post just 18 seconds before Liverpool broke the deadlock.

If netting from free-kicks and corners is going to be a chief way to put the ball in the back of the net then those with the strongest record perhaps need to be on the pitch. When it comes to the centre-backs available to Dyche, Yerry Mina is unrivalled.

The Colombia international has been plagued with injuries throughout his four-and-a-half years at Goodison Park. Signed for £27 million from Barcelona in 2018, Mina has managed just a total of 95 appearances - with four this term.

Yet in terms of goals-per-game, Mina’s record for a defender is fairly impressive. He’s bagged eight times for the Toffees and averages a goal every 11.8 matches. Throughout his career, Mina has been on target 30 times, while he has impressively bagged seven times in 39 games for Colombia.

That record makes the 28-year-old more prolific than Tarkowski, who has averaged a goal every 22.6 matches. Therefore, there’s a case for Mina to start against Leeds.

Conor Coady has served as Tarkowski’s ever-present partner so far since arriving on a season-long loan from Wolves in the summer transfer window. Coady has scored twice for Everton but throughout his career, he nets only every 24.2 outings. The England international’s place has come under some scrutiny against the backdrop of his effort for Cody Gakpo’s second goal against Liverpool. Coady allowed the ball to run across the face of goal, leaving Gakpo with a tap-in at the back post.

Meanwhile, Michael Keane’s proven decent at the opposite end of the pitch in his career and scored once every 14.6 appearances. Putting Keane in the starting line-up alongside Tarkowski would see a return to a partnership that proved highly fruitful for Dyche at Burnley.

Mason Holgate is on the scoresheet every 27.1 games during his career while Ben Godfrey - who has never netted for Everton - averages a goal every 30.9 appearances.

With the Premier League’s worst goal record, Dyche will be trying to eke out improvements in every facet of Everton’s game.

Mina can increase the chances of the Toffees scoring from set-pieces. And, to his credit, sections of supporters feel he’s the best defender at the club when fit. The risk of him breaking down, however, is always there.