Following last night’s Merseyside derby defeat Sean Dyche can be under no final illusions about the size of the task he faces keeping Everton in the Premier League.
And of course, the biggest single problem highlighted in technicolour at Anfield, is that this Everton team has massive problems scoring goals.
Ellis Simms huffed and puffed, but given that he is a different type of striker, played without any direct support and with his lack of experience, he wasn’t going to prove an adequate replacement for the former England number nine.
As has been said many times, Calvert-Lewin’s fitness problems have been a constant theme and backdrop to the endless struggles of this Blues’ side in recent seasons.
The absolutely disgraceful failure of the club hierachy to bring in the additional attacking and striking threats so badly needed last month, has left new manager Dyche scratching around for makeshift solutions.
It was exactly the same issue his predecessor Frank Lampard had to deal with earlier in the season, although he was part of the brains trust during the summer when only one striker was added in Neal Maupay.
And, despite paying £15 million for him when he was clearly surplus to requirements at Brighton , the Frenchman has barely played since.
So, as Dyche faces up to the massive fixtures he has now coming up against Leeds and then Aston Villa, could he possibly learn from a related problem that another of his more distant predecessors wrestled with?
I’m thinking of a similar situation that faced David Moyes when he was Everton manager.
Given the bewildering number of managers the Toffees’ have had over the last six years or so of Farhad Moshiri’s ownership, the Moyes era seems a vintage time of stability and certainty at Everton.
For much of that time though the Scot was handicapped by a chronic lack of funds and often had to shop around scouring the market for unsung talent.
He found some excellent players such as stalwart performers like Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill. Occasionally he did get to splash out a bit more and one of those more expensive signings was Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini.
Just as now, the one area of the team Moyes most often struggled to find adequate options and choices, was up front.
He never had a consistent attack for long and tended to use a variety of lone strikers from Marcus Bent through Andy Johnson to Louis Saha.
At one point he had lost Bent to injury and didn’t have another recognised centre-forward who he could turn to. Again, just like the situation facing Dyche at the moment.
His solution was to pair up two of those signings Cahill and most unexpectedly, Fellaini, in a makeshift striking partnership.
Fellaini provided height, power and the ability to win the ball in the air, while Cahill was the consumate number ten able to time his runs and arrive late in the box to score.
It was a fairly desperate solution but it worked at least to some extent and with a solid defence and a very industrious midfield, his Everton teams were still able to compete and win games.
If Dyche was to consider something similar who might be the players he would employ to replicate that approach?
Well, perhaps one of Simms, Maupay or Gray alongside say Abdoulaye Doucoure just might be an option to consider.
The former Watford midfielder has actually got a decent goal-scoring record in the past, having netted a career high seven times in one campaign when he was at Vicarage Road.
He is certainly a big, powerful individual at his best and is naturally a more attacking player than has usually been in evidence since he made the switch to Goodison Park.
In his post-match remarks Dyche has apparently ruled out using one of Doucoure’s team-mates, Amadou Onana, in a more advanced attacking role.
I’m not sure if trying Doucoure like this would work, but to be honest I don’t see many other possible short-term solutions, especially if Calvert-Lewin is out for several more weeks as looks very possible.
Certainly the attempt to play a fluid front three earlier in the season didn’t work with the players available and anyway one of those usual starters, Anthony Gordon, has since left to join Newcastle United.
And maybe, having a makeshift target-man just might help provide some sort of focal point which the other forwards mentioned – all of whom are best suited to being second strikers – could play off.