Too good to go down?

No football club ever is. Certainly not Everton. Certainly not this current incarnation of one of English football’s most historic institutions.

Not even one as storied as, say, Manchester United survived that fate.

The Old Trafford outfit suffered that abomination barely six years after they had been crowned European champions.

That 1974 ignominy formed the subject of a recent, quite splendid,  BT Sport documentary.

But while that humiliation happened almost half-a-century ago, the parallels with United then and Everton now are worryingly familiar.

Everton are also unravelling. Fast.

After three respectable results in succession they have been beaten at home by travel-sick Norwich. They have endured the cruellest of reverses at Leicester, then at Anfield they imploded.

Liverpool vs Everton as it happened and full time reaction

That run in isolation would be worrying enough. But after 53 league games in charge Marco Silva has now collected just 68 points, seen his side score 70 goals and concede 73.

And they appear to be deteriorating, not improving.

It's simply not good enough.

Defending that would raise eyebrows in the National League saw them ship four goals in 45 wretched first-half minutes.

Defending with a system which looked ill-equipped to handle a Liverpool forward line with two of its most potent players sat on the bench was statuesque, appalling, all at sea.

Players argued with each other. Richarlison gestured angrily after scoring, Jordan Pickford looked at sixes and sevens with his defenders.

Marco Silva ultimately changed the system which wasn’t fit for purpose and steadied the ship slightly, but that was almost like bolting a stable door with the horse halfway down the home straight.

And after all that Everton find themselves in the relegation zone, with the halfway stage of the season upon us in a fortnight.

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Liverpool vs Everton matchday

When a team with players of the talent of Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard and Lucas Digne find themselves in that position questions have to be raised about the manner in which they are being managed.

The 1974 Manchester United was not a bad side, either.

They boasted players of the stature of Martin Buchan, Brian Greenhoff, Brian Kidd, Sammy McIlory and Lou Macari ... heck even George Best made a dozen starts.

But they kept losing football matches. Narrowly. Unfortunately. Cruelly.

Nine of their first 11 defeats that season were by a single goal.

Eventually they lost 20 matches, incredibly 18 by a single goal margin, including the decisive 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park which ultimately relegated them even before Denis Law produced his impudent backheel.

And they kept faith with the manager who took them down and were rewarded.

But football was different then. More forgiving.

This Everton side has now lost nine games this season. Nine from 15. Only Norwich City have lost more.

And not all of their defeats have been narrow, cruel, reverses.

Everton may top the table for last minute goals conceded this season. Four of them.

But they have also been beaten 2-0 by two newly-promoted sides - at home, lost 2-0 at the other promoted side Aston Villa, and been buried by their closest rivals – that’s close geographically not stylistically.

Sure, Silva has endured more than his fair share of VAR-induced misfortune this season, but teams don’t find themselves in the bottom three after 15 games unluckily, especially with fixtures against Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United to follow.

That’s a miserable return.

The Blues power-brokers have some serious soul searching and some big decisions to make. Quickly.

Because Everton are not too good to go down.