Everton arrive into this fixture full of confidence following their 5-4 FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night, and will be aiming to remain in striking distance of a Champions League place.
The Toffees host Fulham where three points would be crucial to both sides for very different reasons. Everton will be hoping to keep their European hopes alive, whereas Fulham will be battling to secure Premier League survival.
The Toffees have an excellent home record over the Whites, winning their last 23 league games against their West London opposition- Fulham’s last league away point at Goodison Park was in 1959.
For the visit of Fulham, Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Jordan Pickford will miss out, as will top scorer, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was forced off with a suspected hamstring injury in Wednesday’s win:
“Pickford and Calvert-Lewin are not available. [Calvert-Lewin] He had a feeling something wasn’t good and stopped before the problem could worsen. They can play Wednesday.”
The Everton boss welcomes James Rodriguez and Andre Gomes back to the squad, having missed the FA Cup victory. An update was also given on Jean-Phillipe Gbamin's condition:
“We have Gomes and James back- they trained yesterday and today so are available for Sunday no problem.
“Gbamin is working and training individually, everything is going well. We hope he can train with the team in 15 days so in a month he can play."
Words on Fulham
Scott Parker’s side find themselves eight points from safety in a relegation battle which doesn’t seem promising.
However, the Lilywhites received praise from the Everton boss, who hailed the team’s spirit and revealed the Toffees will have to be fully focused to avoid a similar outcome to the one against Newcastle United:
“We know it will be a difficult game for a lot of reasons. They are playing really well with courage and intensity.
“After two hours against Spurs we are not in the best condition, we have had enough recovery time but will have to pay attention to this kind of game. Our last home game was a surprise defeat to Newcastle, so we don’t want another surprise against Fulham.”
Tom Davies form
The local midfielder has been one of Everton’s standout players in recent weeks, and his performances haven’t gone unnoticed by Ancelotti.
His boss, a former midfielder himself, spoke highly of Davies who he feels has improved a lot and is helping the team through his local connection to the club:
“Tom is doing really well, honestly he has improved a lot. We are improving his ball management when in possession but the base of his quality is he’s a powerful and dynamic midfielder.
“Even though he has played as a professional for a long time, he is still really young. He has the desire to improve and has a really strong belonging to the club which has helped us.”
Despite remaining unbeaten in their last three games, Everton have conceded seven goals in their last two outings.
Three of the four goals conceded against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side came from set pieces, an area the Toffees consider a strength both defensively and offensively.
The Everton boss confirmed things will be adjusted to resolve the defensive issues but says his side have done their job in front of goal:
“It was a shock we had problems where we usually don’t- normally we are solid and strong. We need to adjust in some areas but I’d be more worried if we conceded seven and didn’t score.
“Also we try to play open football. Against Manchester United the strategy was not to defend and counter attack, it was to build from back and use the quality we have. We have scored a lot as well.”
Richarlison is back
The Brazilian has not reached the heights he hit last season in front of goal, with the forward only totalling two in the league so far this season. Richarlison was Everton’s joint highest goal scorer (13) in the competition last season, but has struggled this campaign.
After the Manchester United game, his manager declared the goals would soon come and they certainly did against Spurs as Richarlison netted twice.
Ancelotti was full of praise for Richarlison who he feels is now back:
“He’s a really important player for us. He had a lot of problems at the start of the season but after his performance against Tottenham I think we can say he is back.”