🌡 Hot Take: Everton have the best front three on Merseyside

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Lewis Ambrose

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The Everton front three will end this Premier League season with more goals and assists than the Liverpool front three.

The triumvirate of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino is superb. That’s beyond doubt.

Salah is probably the most talented of the three, the man who changes games; Mané is the most consistent, he’s hard-working and as capable of scoring or assisting as any winger in the league; and Firmino, unselfish beyond compare, may not score many but he knits it all together.

But Everton have their own three to compete and the balance of a Dominic Calvert-Lewin, James Rodríguez, Richarlison frontline is arguably the best in the league.

The Toffees have scored 12 Premier League goals so far this season and one of those three has either scored or assisted 11 of them.

Calvert-Lewin in particular has hit the ground running and leads the league with six goals. The striker, who also struck on his England debut last week, showed promise under previous Everton bosses but has come into his own under Carlo Ancelotti.

In the system he is playing at Everton it has allowed me to be more focused on being the focal point for the team and doing my job, which is scoring goals


After his former managers used him as a hard-working target man, the shackles are off and a more selfish version of the 23-year-old is showing all the signs of being a top class penalty area poacher.

Urged to stay closer to the goal, be active inside the area, and sniff out chances has done him the world of good.

As has the addition of James Rodríguez.

Signed for free from Real Madrid, it was a bit of a surprise to see the Colombian end up at Goodison Park. Just a few years ago he was considered one of the finest creative in world football but his stock had fallen and Everton took advantage.

Back under Ancelotti, who coached him at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, James looks reborn. There are often questions asked of players who arrive in the Premier League, especially flair players. Can they deliver? Do they work hard enough? Will the league be too intense?

James has laughed in the face of those questions and breezed through four opponents back-to-back, scoring three goals and assisting two more. He’s right at home.

The 29-year-old’s quality has shone through and his ability to drift in from the right and pick incisive passes at will has transformed Everton’s attack, catapulted the team to the top of the table, and underlined his ability.

His adaptability and understanding was underlined against Brighton last time out.

With Richarlison injured and replace by a more creative, less aggressive and direct player in Alex Iwobi, James tailored his game perfectly, realising he had to step up as the man to put the ball in the back of the net. His reward: two goals.

Then there’s Richarlison. He could deliver 10 assists this season, or he could score 25 goals. Players capable of both are rare.

Creative, hard-working and a huge goal threat, the Brazilian would be loved by Jürgen Klopp if he found himself on the other side of Stanley Park.

Just 23, Richarlison has scored 13 Premier League goals in each of his Everton seasons so far and his early performances so far this season have suggested he is ready to explode to a new level, even if he hasn’t been rewarded in front of goal.

Ancelotti, in typical fashion, has found the perfect balance to get the most out of the three players. As he did with his midfields in Milan and Madrid, he has struck gold, quickly finding the mould needed to allow all three of his best players to play to their strengths and decide games.

Richarlison can bend to the team’s needs, James is the creator who can dictate a game or turn it with a moment of magic. Calvert-Lewin is the physical presence and smart mover, a poacher in front of goal but a player who can also hold up play and combine intelligently with his team-mates.

With two 23-year-olds and a bonafide world star making up the trio, you do have to wonder, to ask, if Everton’s front three is primed to outperform Liverpool’s this season.

Liverpool will outscore Everton as a team this season and they will finish above the Toffees but if Saturday’s Merseyside derby turns into a shootout between the front threes, Everton can now more than hold their own.