LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Only Liverpool have secured more Premier League points than Everton (24 to 17) since their Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Goodison Park in December.
The scintillating form has been in large part sparked by Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who Ancelotti has paired up front and who both scored -- and provided each other with an assist -- in Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Crystal Palace.
The Brazilian, set free by Calvert-Lewin’s flick on the halfway line, forced his way into the area and fired home after 51 minutes before returning the favour by setting up his strike partner’s late goal with a header off the bar into his path.
Calvert-Lewin’s 11 goals this season are the best by an English striker at Everton since Andy Johnson in 2006-07 and are clearly a product of the confidence he feels since Ancelotti and his assistant Duncan Ferguson took charge.
“I am enjoying playing with Richi (Richarlison), since Dunc (Ferguson) came in we have been a partnership - we work together, complement each other,” said Calvert-Lewin.
“It wasn’t the best performance from me but I got the goal, should have had another. We get on off the pitch as well.
“We knew how important it was today, back-to-back wins puts us in good stead going into the (winter) break. It’s good we won, it wasn’t the prettiest game but we dug in and won our individual battles.”
Everton are now seventh, five points off fourth-placed Chelsea whose inconsistency has raised questions about whether they can hang on to a Champions League qualification spot.
The only Everton player who let the pitch dissatisfied was goalkeeper Jordon Pickford who allowed Christian Benteke’s strike to go under his body for the equaliser.
England’s No. 1 described his error as “disgusting”.
“I was disappointed with myself. My studs got caught but I hold my hands up for that. I reset and I never let anything affect me. It shows my character,” Pickford said.
The goal was a personal milestone for Benteke, who had not scored for 1,476 minutes.
“This was the hardest moment of my career so far in England,” he said. “It hasn’t been easy but every week is another chance and today I took it. We didn’t win and we are in a really bad mood.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Ken Ferris
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