Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored after just 42 seconds as Everton ended their loss with a 3-2 win over Fulham, while Liverpool ravaged by injuries prepared for their crucial clash with Leicester on Sunday. Calvert-Lewin kept up his good form to put Carlo Ancelotti’s side in front in one minute at Craven Cottage. Bobby Decordova-Reid equalized for Fulham, but England striker Calvert-Lewin scored again and Abdoulaye Doucoure got Everton’s third before half-time. Ruben Loftus-Cheek reduced the deficit in the second half, but Everton held on to win for the first time in five league games. After a three-game losing streak that hampered their attempt to finish in the top four, Everton are in sixth place.
Everton have been boosted by the return of Richarlison following a three-game ban, with Ancelotti’s side unbeaten this season when Brazil striker Calvert-Lewin and James Rodriguez all start together.
Appropriately energized by the restoration of their attacking trio, Everton got off to a perfect start.
Decordova-Reid gave the ball away and Richarlison advanced into Fulham’s area before whipping a low cross.
Tosin Adarabioyo made a hash on his punt attempt and Calvert-Lewin grabbed his 12th goal of the season.
Fulham equalized in the 15th minute when Tom Cairney’s pass spotted Decordova-Reid and he dodged Yerry Mina to lead a cool finish past Jordan Pickford.
But Everton fought back as Calvert-Lewin scored again in the 29th minute.
Alex Iwobi’s incisive run opened up Fulham’s defense and James found Lucas Digne, whose center found Calvert-Lewin for a close range clinical arrival.
Fulham’s abject defense was all Everton needed to keep moving forward and they scored again in the 35th minute.
Digne was given time and space to cross on the left and his delivery was greeted by Doucoure, who was under no pressure as he passed Areola.
Fulham wasted a chance to come back into the game after 68 minutes when Ben Godfrey gave a penalty with a move to Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Ademola Lookman had embarrassingly missed out on the spot against West Ham in Fulham’s previous game, so Ivan Cavaleiro stepped up, but the winger slipped taking his kick and the ball flew high over the bar.
Loftus-Cheek cheered Fulham up in the 70th minute when he encountered Lookman’s pass with a shot that deflected off Mina.
Fulham remains a place above the relegation zone after his third loss in four games.
Match of the day is at Anfield, where Leicester would replace Tottenham at the top of the table if they can beat champions Liverpool, who will climb to second place with a win.
Already shaken by Virgil van Dijk’s long-term injury, Liverpool’s defensive resources were further depleted during the international break with Joe Gomez being ruled out for the remainder of the season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is out for two more weeks, while Jordan Henderson is in doubt of injury after contracting muscle strain on international duty.
Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has a huge opportunity to become the first man to lead a visiting team to a league win at Anfield since April 2017 without such injuries for the third-placed Foxes.
The retirement of Jamie Vardy from England means Leicester’s top scorer has had two weeks off, while Rodgers could reclaim full-backs Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne after injury.
In Sunday’s remaining games, Sheffield United will face West Ham and Leeds will host Arsenal.
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