Everton latest news: Toffees fans 'hurt' by key Goodison Park figure

Everton fans

Rafael Benitez being a Liverpool legend is “going to hurt” Everton supporters, says Sky Sports journalist Michael Bridge.

The 61-year-old, who managed Liverpool for six years, was far from being fans’ first-choice manager to replace Carlo Ancelotti given that connection to their rivals.

Has Benitez’s popularity increased since arriving at Goodison Park?

With Everton really struggling for form this season, Benitez has not done much to win over the Goodison Park faithful. 

Under him, the Toffees have gone on an eight-game winless streak in the Premier League, which only just ended courtesy of Demarai Gray’s heroics against Arsenal.  

However, Benitez’s men quickly followed that 2-1 win over Arsenal up with a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, their eighth loss of the season. 

Everton have been hit hard with injuries in the current campaign, with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin still sidelined after fracturing a toe.

Benitez, though, can not use that as an excuse forever as pressure starts to mount. Marcel Brands has already lost his job as director of football; the Spaniard could easily be next if things do not improve.

What has Bridge said about Benitez?

Bridge believes Benitez being a Liverpool legend alone is enough to hurt Everton supporters. 

He told GIVEMESPORT: “He’s not just an ex-Liverpool manager, he’s an ex-Liverpool legend. He’s got banners all around the Kop when Liverpool come out. This guy’s the Everton manager, so obviously that’s going to hurt Everton fans.”

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What is next for Benitez and Everton?

Benitez does have time to turn things around. There is still the second half of the season, while owner Farhad Moshiri is still in his corner.

Calvert-Lewin, who scored 21 goals in all competitions last term, will provide a huge boost when he returns from injury, and there is a chance to strengthen next month when the winter transfer window opens. 

With Benitez revealing that financial fair play killed Everton in the last transfer window, it is unlikely that they are going to splash the cash in the upcoming one. But perhaps he can find another bargain like Gray.

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John Heitinga - Everton

Which club did John Heitinga start his professional career at?

The 25-year-old has been one of the Toffees’ few shining lights this season following his £1.7m move from Bayer Leverkusen back in July.

Gray has managed to rack up five Premier League goals so far this campaign, including that incredible winner against Arsenal at the death.

Things are certainly looking bleak for Benitez right now, but it is not game over just yet.

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