But there was only one means of Everton getting anything from this game in the latter stages – by adopting route one tactics, turning the game into a wrestling match on the edge of the Leicester penalty area and maximising the discomfort levels for visiting centre-halves who until then were unperturbed.
For that, Lampard turned to striker Salomon Rondon – a misfit during his Everton career. It was basic but effective stuff, the correct calculation for the circumstances.
Within two minutes of Rondon’s introduction, Everton had their first shot on target – Richarlison forcing Schmeichel to save. More significantly, Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans belatedly looked like they were in a game.
It would be a stretch to suggest an equaliser was coming, but Richarlison headed an easy chance wide and Seamus Coleman could have beat Schmeichel in injury time seconds before the Brazilian did.
Long-term, it is inconceivable this will be Lampard’s vision. He will need more technically gifted and tactically adaptable players to make Everton competitive in the top half of the Premier League.
“At the moment it is not about pretty patterns and where we will go for the next three years,” he pointed out.
Should he get the necessary points to survive, the manager’s readiness to adapt bodes well. It was apparent within 20 minutes Everton could not hope to compete with Leicester’s possession stats.
Indeed, the home side began like they had spent the last 24 hours analysing Manchester United videos. It was an exhibition in granting an opponent time and space. Leicester took advantage in such a way to make their league position bewildering. In truth, they would most likely be in the race for Champions League places but for their injury issues, the return of Fofana especially influential in Leicester starting to resemble the side which just missed out on the top four in successive seasons.
Rodgers’ vision manifested itself with Leicester’s attractive patterns, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and James Maddison especially prominent whenever Everton stood off.
Dewsbury-Hall almost scored after 30 seconds, picked out by Ricardo as he advanced towards Jordan Pickford.
Coleman’s perfectly timed challenge saved his team. It was a brief reprieve. Everton did not heed the warning down their left. After four minutes, Schmeichel picked out Ricardo, Maddison overlapped and received possession by the penalty area, and Barnes finished from close range after the midfielder’s cross led to Kelechi Iheanacho’s blocked attempt.
Had Leicester been more ruthless they would have punished Everton before the hosts had a chance to mobilise for that final push.