As the current campaign reaches its half-way mark, the Blues have not made the start they would have hoped for, and will be further rocked by the recent departure of Nathalie Bjorn to Chelsea.
Sitting seventh in the table, and out of the Women’s League Cup, what have been the highs, lows, and talking points in Everton’s 2023/24 campaign? Let’s look closer:
Anfield dominance continues
The dominance when playing the neighbours across the Park at Everton’s original home shows no signs of letting up.
In what has undoubtedly been the season’s highlight so far, Finnigan’s first-half goal was enough to seal all three points for the Blues and ensures that the Toffees have won all three WSL meetings at Anfield without conceding a single goal.
Top four hurt continues
Although they triumphed over Liverpool in October, it is the Reds that have made ground on the WSL elite. While Sorensen’s philosophy remains focused on ball retention, it has often contributed to the undoing against the Manchester clubs, as well as Chelsea and Arsenal.
Everton have again come up significantly short against the aforementioned sides with heavy defeats already sustained against City, United and the champions from West London.
The Blues have not always looked out of place against the league’s big guns, but squandered chances are usually ruthlessly punished.
Goals would be a fine thing
The signing of Martina Piemonte was greeted with excitement. The Italian striker boasted an impressive scoring return in her native Italy and has shown glimmers of the centre forward the Blues need. But one goal in eight league appearances will be a record the 26-year-old will have to improve if the Toffees are to mark their mark this season.
The former AC Milan star has had 14 shots this season though, so chances are being created.
What will be worrying for manager Brian Sorensen however, is that central defender Finnigan currently leads Everton’s scoring charts with three goals, and only West Ham United are more goal shy in the WSL.
Big departures, injuries and retirements
With Bjorn now swapping Merseyside for West London, Everton will be looking at the market for reinforcements. The Swedish star is a big loss, but arguably not as big as Gabby George, who left in the summer for Manchester United. The versatile defender was arguably the Toffees’ player of the season last campaign, establishing herself as a wing-back who looked just as comfortable in the middle when required.
Nicoline Sorensen also departed in December, although the Dane swapped football for other endeavours outside of the game by announcing her retirement at just 26.
And the squad has also had its fair share of injuries this season, including experienced campaigners Lucy Hope and Elise Stenevik, as well as Emily Ramsey, who is facing a lengthy period on the sidelines following an ankle ligament injury sustained against Liverpool in the League Cup.
Faith in youth, hope for the future
Always a club that is happy to give youth a chance, this season has been no different. Sometimes necessary and unavoidable due to the injury situation, Sorensen has not been shy in handing his youngsters a chance, particularly in the cup fixtures.
Names like Annie Wilding, and summer signing Karoline Olesen, are among a number of names to have gained minutes and experience in the first team, and will be ones to watch in the future.
Veterans such as Toni Duggan and Justine Vanhaevermaet aside, Everton is a young team that is progressing and learning. While there is too much quality to be worrying about relegation, fans will have to be patient as Sorensen continues his long-term plan, with a mid-table finish more than likely.
There is still the FA Cup, though.