Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe insists Everton have lost none of their attacking threat, despite the summer departure of top scorer Romelu Lukaku.
Belgium striker Lukaku hit 25 Premier League goals for the Toffees last season – including four against the Cherries – to earn a big-money move to Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Spaniard Sandro Ramirez were among a host of attacking talent brought into Goodison Park as replacements and Howe, who takes his team to Merseyside on Saturday, believes Ronald Koeman’s side will continue to cause problems for opposition defences in Lukaku’s absence.
“Look at Wayne Rooney, look at his goalscoring record and you’re going to say they’re less potent an attack,” Howe said. “I don’t buy that.
“I think the quality that they’ve recruited, they’re a very good football team, they’ve got some really good footballers in their team.
“I think they’re a strong side.”
Former England captain Rooney began the season brightly, scoring twice in his opening two league games after returning to his boyhood club from Manchester United.
He has not found the back of the net in five outings in all competitions since, but Howe is convinced the 31-year-old still has plenty to offer.
“I think he’s an outstanding player, I’ve always been one of his biggest fans,” Howe said.
“Historically, from Manchester United to England, there’s no doubt he’s been one of the best goalscorers of his generation.
“We are aware that he will be a real threat technically, he’ll make them play but also he’s lost none of his finishing ability.”
Both Bournemouth and Everton currently reside in the relegation zone after enduring difficult starts to the new campaign.
The Cherries beat Brighton last Friday to register their first points of the season, while Everton, a point better off, are on a four-game winless run in the league following a draw at Manchester City and defeats to Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
Howe, whose team also beat the Seagulls in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, feels it is too early to assess the league table.
“My way of thinking is judge everybody sort of halfway through the season, I think that’s when you get a proper look at the table and see where people may or may not finish,” Howe added.
“It’s far too early to draw conclusions at this stage.
“Naturally, I think when you start a season with a run of defeats, it’s probably the worst possible time because you question yourself even more.”