It was a momentous occasion on many counts. The fans were finally back at Goodison after about a year and a half of games being played in eerie, cavernous stadiums. They were getting their first live look at Everton’s new manager Rafa Benitez, who took over after the sudden exit of Carlo Ancelotti. Two new players were being welcomed on their debut starts for the Blues in Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend. And most importantly, it was the first game of a new Premier League season.
Visitors Southampton threatened to tear up the script with a spirited showing in the first half and even taking the lead, but the Toffees fought back with a determined performance in the second half, securing the three points with three goals in front of the Gwladys Street end.
The goals came from Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with Benitez commending the home support and crediting the players for the win, and a good time was had by all.