Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Everton will appeal Lucas Digne's red card, questioning whether the extensive coverage of Jordan Pickford's tackle on Virgil van Dijk last week played a part in the decision.

James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams did the damage at St Mary's on Sunday, as Premier League leaders Everton suffered their first defeat in all competitions this season.

Everton's 2-0 reverse means 2020-21 is the first English top-flight campaign since 1967-68 in which no side has gone unbeaten through the first six matches.

A year to the day since Southampton were thrashed 9-0 at home by Leicester City, Everton's hopes of a comeback were further diminished when Digne received a straight red card for a challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters in the 72nd minute.

Sprinting after Walker-Peters, Digne appeared to slow himself but in doing so stepped on the heel of the Southampton full-back, prompting his dismissal.

It is the first time since December 2002 that Everton have received straight red cards in back-to-back Premier League games, after Richarlison was dismissed in last week's Merseyside derby.

Earlier in that match, Pickford was fortunate to escape punishment for a tackle on Van Dijk that resulted in the Liverpool centre-back suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury – an incident that has been at the centre of a media storm since.

Ancelotti believes the reaction to the decisions in the Merseyside derby possibly played a part in Digne's dismissal at Saints, which left him fuming.

"It was a joke, the red card, because it was not intentional," Ancelotti told Sky Sports. "Maybe it can be a yellow but for sure it was not violent conduct. They could check it better.

"Maybe all the rumours, all week against Pickford, against Richarlison, affected the decision. If it is like this, it's not right, it's not fair. We are going to appeal, for sure."

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum was critical of Everton after the derby and claimed Ancelotti's side were "unacceptable".

Everton received three red cards last season, though all were for second bookable offences, with the Toffees collecting 70 yellow cards in total – an average of 1.84 bookings per game.

This season, Ancelotti's team have received seven yellow cards and two straight reds from their six league matches, conceding 70 fouls (11.6 per match), which is a decrease from 12.4 per game in 2019-20.

If his red card is not rescinded, Digne will miss league matches against Newcastle United, Manchester United and Fulham.

Ralph Hasenhuttl took a different view, with Southampton's boss saying: "He tried before to kick him, finally he hit him from behind. It was a clear red card for me."

Carlo Ancelotti has once again backed Jordan Pickford after the Everton goalkeeper's rollercoaster display in the Merseyside derby.

Everton, who had Richarlison sent off late on, held defending Premier League champions Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, with Michael Keane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin – his 10th club goal of the season in all competitions – cancelling out strikes from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Pickford made six saves in total, including spectacular efforts to deny Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joel Matip, yet the England goalkeeper, who has been unconvincing this season, was lucky to be on the pitch after a lunge on Virgil van Dijk early on.

There was to be more drama involving the Everton number one, as he failed to keep out Jordan Henderson's shot in stoppage time, only for VAR to disallow Liverpool a winner.

Ancelotti, however, insisted Pickford had a good game, though Everton did bring in Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen on deadline day to add extra competition in that position.

"I think he played a good game, like the others," Ancelotti told a news conference. "A good performance. I am not worried.

"When you concede a goal you have to defend better. We have to defend better in certain situations but against Liverpool, it is a really, really difficult game, defensively and offensively."

Ancelotti added of his side's display: "We never lost confidence, we were able to equalise the game two times. We had an opportunity to go up but we hit the post with Richarlison.

"Apart from the result, the performance was satisfying. I am really satisfied."

It has now been a decade since Everton beat Liverpool, though Calvert-Lewin - whose 81st-minute equaliser was a towering header from Lucas Digne's superb cross - believes the Toffees will soon end that dismal 23-match winless run.

"Disappointed that we didn't kick on at 1-1. We did well to get ourselves back into the game," Calvert-Lewin told BT Sport.

"We knew there'd be spells where we wouldn’t have the ball but we know we've got the quality.

"I've had a chance today that I'd back myself to put away, unfortunately not and the game goes the way it does. It's coming, I genuinely believe it's coming. I thought today would be the day but it's not to be, onto the next one.

"I'm disappointed we didn't win today, I knew all the fans wanted to too. In that respect it's frustrating, but in the bigger picture we've got a point today, we take it. We didn't lose, we keep the unbeaten run going."

A goalscoring milestone, a red card (and maybe another that should have been), a key player off through injury and four goals. Oh, plus a late and controversial VAR call, too. 

Yes, the 237th Merseyside derby pretty much had it all. 

An early kick-off following an international break may have raised concerns of a sluggish return in the Premier League, yet it soon became apparent that there would be no easing back into domestic duties at Goodison Park. 

Liverpool scored early through Sadio Mane but lost both Virgil van Dijk and their advantage not long after. Mohamed Salah did put the champions back ahead with a notable strike in the second half, but Everton once again responded to grab a draw. 

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's towering 81st-minute header was far from the end of the drama, though. 

The hosts had Richarlison sent off before Jordan Henderson appeared to have won it for the Reds, albeit with a helping hand from Jordan Pickford, whose earlier challenge on Van Dijk had ended the Dutchman's involvement, with the goalkeeper not punished due to an offside call. 

Yet, by the barest of margins, Mane was adjudged offside in the build-up when the play was checked at Stockley Park. No goal, then, meaning a point apiece and plenty of talking points and a host of interesting Opta facts. 

 

MANE STRIKES BUT HOSTS KEANE TO RESPOND 

Liverpool showed no signs of a delayed hangover from the stunning 7-2 loss to Aston Villa last time out, Mane - who had missed that game - getting the opener after two minutes and 15 seconds. 

It was the Reds' fastest ever goal in a Premier League derby, though Everton have done it quicker in the fixture - Olivier Dacourt scored after just one minute in April 1999 (though they went on to lose 3-2 at Anfield). 

Andrew Robertson provided the assist, the full-back's 14th since the start of the 2018-19 season; only Kevin De Bruyne (21) has managed more in the English top flight.

Yet the lead did not last for too long, Michael Keane heading in James Rodriguez's delivery for his third goal of the season in the 19th minute, making it the earliest both teams had scored in a derby clash since November 2013. 

SALAH REACHES CENTURY IN STYLE 

Salah scored in the 72nd minute, the 100th goal of his Liverpool career in his 159th appearance - only Roger Hunt and Jack Parkinson have made it to the century in fewer appearances for the club. 

The Egyptian's instinctive finish when a loose ball fell into his path had Jurgen Klopp's side on course for all three points but, while they are unbeaten in their last 23 meetings against Everton in all competitions - their longest run against a single opponent in history, they were unable to hold on in their neighbours' backyard. 

Calvert-Lewin climbed high to nod in Lucas Digne's deep cross, his 12th headed goal in the Premier League since the start of the 2018-19 season. No other player has managed more than that total. 

Having also struck on his England debut, the forward continued his fine start to the campaign, becoming the first Everton player to score in the first five league games of a season since Tommy Lawton, way back in 1938-39. 

Everton have now scored 322 headed goals in the Premier League, more than any other club. If Calvert-Lewin is on target again next time out, with Everton up against Southampton, he will match Sergio Aguero's scoring streak of six matches, which the Manchester City striker managed at the start of 2019-20. 

RICHARLISON SEES RED IN EVENTFUL FINISH 

If Pickford was saved from being sent off by a technicality, there was no sparing Richarlison after he lunged in on Thiago Alcantara. 

The Brazilian stayed down injured for a short while after the tackle, but treatment only delayed the inevitable. His red card is the 22nd in Premier League meetings between the Merseyside clubs, unsurprisingly the most in the competition. Everton, by the way, have accounted for 15 of those dismissals. 

Liverpool appeared to have capitalised on the advantage of having an extra man when Henderson's rather weak first-time finish was only palmed beyond the line by Pickford, only for the use of technology to wipe out what appeared to be a last-gasp winner. 

The VAR call denied the visitors, though Klopp will also be aware this was a fourth league game in five without a clean sheet. They have conceded 13 goals at the start of their title defence – they did not leak that many in the previous campaign until 15 games in. 

The potential absence of Van Dijk will not help in the quest to tighten up at the back, particularly with goalkeeper Alisson also sidelined through injury. 

As for Everton, they remain unbeaten and while their 100 per cent record is no more, there are positive signs for boss Carlo Ancelotti and the fans for the months ahead. They still have not led in any of their last 14 Premier League matches against their rivals, but are now unbeaten in four derbies at home, all of which have finished as draws. 

James Rodriguez's move to Everton invoked polarising opinions from fans and pundits alike – it seemed his signing was either destined to be a masterstroke or an expensive flop.

Many suggested that, while undoubtedly gifted, James' qualities were those of a bygone era when teams were built around a number 10 whose only real job was to create chances and score goals.

The common conception was that, in introducing a player who does little work off the ball, Everton were putting themselves at a disadvantage to every other team.

Even James himself recognises he is one of a dying breed, saying recently on the Locker Room podcast: "Everyone plays 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, hardly any kids want to be a number 10 now, because now the number 10s are being left out by the managers because they only want fast players who have one-on-one skills, can run, can play through the middle - 15 or 20 years ago, everyone wanted to be a number 10."

It's a well-known fact that James isn't much of a runner – he will never cover as much ground as someone like Kevin De Bruyne, but that's the point. He hasn't ever been that type of player – let him play to his strengths and he'll thrive.

If anyone knew how to get the best out of him, it was his former Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, and the Italian has expertly found a way to get the best out James, as we examine ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Ancelotti's James bond key to success

While James is certainly acting like the traditional number 10 for Everton, he's playing the role with his own unique spin, a way that has regularly seen both he and Juan Fernando Quintero thrive alongside each other at international level for Colombia.

Normally one would expect a player in such a role to occupy more of the central spaces, yet James operates initially from the right, allowing him to cut inside on to his left foot.

This creates a much greater area for him to do damage, as he can either dribble into the centre, play a diagonal pass out to the left, or look for a reverse ball into an advanced position on the right.

 

Not only is the pitch generally less crowded for him in this area, but were he deployed in a strictly central role, having such range of passing avenues without needing to turn would be unlikely.

This explains why Lucas Digne – who went off with a knee injury late in France's Nations League victory over Croatia on Wednesday – is the second most frequent receiver of passes (23) from James in the Everton team despite operating on the other flank, as the left-back is one of Premier League's best creators.

James knows this and regularly looks to the Frenchman on the opposite flank – together, they are Everton's greatest sources of chances this term (12 for James, eight for Digne). Similarly, the former Madrid star has picked out left-sided forward Richarlison for more chances (five) than he has anyone else.

But another key factor Ancelotti has had to consider, as highlighted already, is that James won't offer a huge amount when the Toffees aren't in possession.

Ancelotti surrounds James with hard-working, dynamic players. Allan is as tenacious as any midfielder in the league, while Abdoulaye Doucoure is a fine option as a box-to-box battler and Seamus Coleman is tireless at right-back.

 

With Doucoure and Coleman working close to James, Ancelotti's table-toppers often create overloads on the right flank, and as that attracts more defenders over to their side, that's when gaps can open up on the left for Digne.

Identifying the weakness

As much as Everton fans may not want to admit, there are certainly similarities between how they and Liverpool attack – the Reds' full-backs are key to the offensive phase of their play, while Mohamed Salah's cutting in off the left flank is a vital component in terms of chance creation.

With that in mind, it will be intriguing to see how they counteract each other's strengths, but there's no doubt stopping James will go a long way for the Reds.

The Colombian has three goals (joint fourth-highest in the league) and two assists (joint third-highest in the league) to his name, while only Salah, De Bruyne (both 14) and Son Heung-min (13) have produced more key passes than him.

Of the 12 opportunities carved out by Rodriguez, four were classed by Opta as "big chances", second to Harry Kane (six).

But he's not just involved at the end of attacking moves, as highlighted by sequence data – he has played a role in six different goal-ending sequences, a figure bettered by only four others, while James started two of them. Ollie Watkins (three) is the solitary player with a better number here.

Where Liverpool will need to pay particular attention, however, is with regards to their high line. The average distance from goal that their open-play sequences begin is 49.2 metres, meaning they play with a higher defensive line than anyone else in the division – this was exploited by Aston Villa in the 7-2 humiliation before the international break, and James will surely be mindful.

Uncharted territory… almost

James' importance to Everton is certainly comparable to Salah's influence on Liverpool – across all competitions the Toffees playmaker has created three more chances (17) than his rival, been involved in one more goal (six) and played the same number of passes into the box (31).

But where their different approaches are accentuated is their total touches in the area, with Salah at 47 and James on 10.

That's where others come in.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison may not have quite the same reputation as their Liverpool counterparts in Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, but there's no doubt the Everton pair have both started the season in exhilarating fashion.

So, although James is undoubtedly the key, Everton have several weapons capable of doing damage.

Saturday's game will be exactly 10 years on from Everton's last Premier League win over their bitter rivals. While a victory over the Reds might almost feel like uncharted territory for the Toffees, with James plotting their route, one has to think they've never had a better opportunity to sink a Liverpool side whose weaknesses have already been exposed.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin says the "cool" approach Carlo Ancelotti has at Everton has helped him to become a top-class goalscorer.

The 23-year-old is the leading scorer across Europe's top-five leagues in all competitions, having hit nine in six games in all competitions for the Toffees, and was named the Premier League Player of the Month for September.

Calvert-Lewin also marked his England debut against Wales on Tuesday with the opening goal, heading in Jack Grealish's cross to set up a 3-0 victory at Wembley.

The former Sheffield United youngster has played under several managers at Everton, including Ronald Koeman, David Unsworth, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva and Duncan Ferguson as well as Ancelotti.

The arrival of the Italian has truly brought Calvert-Lewin to life, though. Since Ancelotti took charge on December 22 last year, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (18) has scored more goals in the Premier League than the Everton forward.

Yet Calvert-Lewin says there is nothing specific about Ancelotti's tactics that have helped him thrive, insisting it is mostly about confidence.

"He's not given me anything massive to think about but his whole persona - how cool, calm and collected he is - means he's a man I enjoy playing for," Calvert-Lewin told Sky Sports.

"He's a good guy, first and foremost, I think that's very important. He filled me with confidence straight away. For a manager who has achieved what he has and worked with some great players, that gave me a massive boost.

"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."

Calvert-Lewin is now battling for a starting spot on Sunday, when England face Belgium in the Nations League.

"I enjoyed the occasion against Wales and if I'm called upon I'll be ready," he said. "There's a massive amount of quality within the team. If you look at the players who aren't classed as the starting XI, they are big figures for their club teams so there's competition for places within the team.

"It's a very proud moment to represent your country and we all want to play. That competitiveness brings more quality out of the players. I need to stay consistent, I don't look too far ahead but just affect what I can affect. To be ready in the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net."

Carlo Ancelotti has won the Premier League's Manager of the Month award for September after guiding Everton to the top of the table.

The Italian got the nod after it was announced Toffees striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin had earned the Player of the Month honour.

It comes after a month in which a revitalised Everton, bolstered by the arrival of James Rodriguez and Calvert-Lewin's stunning form, won all three top-flight matches.

After winning 1-0 at Tottenham, Ancelotti's men thrashed West Brom 5-2 and then sealed a 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace.

"It's a great achievement. I have to share with my team and my players," Ancelotti said, with his side hosting Merseyside rivals and champions Liverpool after the international break.

"We've started really well and we hope to continue it and to win this award again."

It is the fifth time he has won the prize, having done so four times with Chelsea.

Everton's promising start has been fuelled in large part by Calvert-Lewin's goals, with six to his name in the league already at a rate of one every 57 minutes.

That return earned the 23-year-old an England debut on Thursday, during which he scored the opener in a 3-0 win over Wales at Wembley.

Ancelotti has set his sights high, with a push for Europe his top priority after starting the season with seven wins on the bounce in all competitions – the first time they have achieved that feat since 1894-95.

"We worked well in the transfer market. We signed players that we need and they've adapted really fast," the 61-year-old said.

"Our target is to reach Europe next season and to stay at the top for as long as possible."

The win over Brighton and Hove Albion last time out marked Ancelotti's 100th Premier League game in the dugout and his 60th victory.

Only five managers have won more of their first 100 in the competition than that – Jose Mourinho (73), Pep Guardiola (73), Manuel Pellegrini (65), Alex Ferguson (62) and Roberto Mancini (62).

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's stunning start to the 2020-21 campaign has earned the Everton and England striker the Premier League's Player of the Month award for September.

The 23-year-old scored five times to help propel Carlo Ancelotti's side to the top of the table, with his exploits leading to an England debut on Thursday in which he promptly opened his account on the international stage.

Calvert-Lewin headed the opening goal in the Three Lions' 3-0 victory over Wales at Wembley as his fine form continued.

His haul for Everton, which he added to with an effort against Brighton and Hove Albion this month, includes a hat-trick in the 5-2 thrashing of West Brom.

He is the first Toffees player to win the award since Romelu Lukaku in March 2017, having seen off competition from a shortlist that featured team-mate James Rodriguez and fellow England star Harry Kane.

Calvert-Lewin's top-flight goals this season have come at an average of one every 57 minutes, with the former Sheffield United forward having converted 67 per cent of the big chances he has had. Half of those goals have been headers.

The next opportunity for Calvert-Lewin to shine could come in England's Nations League showdown with Belgium on Sunday.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has started 2020-21 in outstanding form for Everton, leading to the possibility of an England debut in the coming days. 

Having managed nine goals in six appearances across all competitions this season, Calvert-Lewin is the leading scorer in Europe's top five leagues. 

He leads a list which also includes Tottenham pair Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland, Bayern Munich great Robert Lewandowski and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. 

Calvert-Lewin's reward is a first call up to the England senior squad ahead of the friendly with Wales, which is followed by Nations League clashes with Belgium and Denmark. 

But just how does Calvert-Lewin compare to his England team-mates, and what are the numbers behind his brilliant run under Carlo Ancelotti? 

THE FERGUSON FACTOR AND CARLO'S MAGIC TOUCH

A wiry and energetic youngster, Calvert-Lewin's versatility and work ethic may have set him back in his early years at Everton, with Ronald Koeman, David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce all utilising the forward in a variety of positions. Indeed, new Barcelona boss Koeman even deployed Calvert-Lewin as a wing-back in Everton's opening league match of 2017-18.

Whether as a foil for Romelu Lukaku, Wayne Rooney or Cenk Tosun in those first two campaigns, Calvert-Lewin often played second fiddle to another striker and his goal figures reflected as much. He managed four in 28 appearances under Koeman, three in 19 under Allardyce and two in eight with Unsworth in temporary charge. 

Marco Silva's tenure brought about Calvert-Lewin's first real chance to grasp his place as Everton's starting striker. He played 54 games and scored 13 times – averaging a goal every 209 minutes under the former Hull City boss, though consistency still alluded him, with his main task being to stretch opposing defences to benefit team-mates Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson. 

Yet Silva's departure after a dismal derby defeat to Liverpool last December signalled a change in fortunes for Calvert-Lewin, as Everton legend Duncan Ferguson called on the club's number nine to deliver. 

"To have someone who's been there and done it to bounce ideas off him has been invaluable, I couldn't thank him enough," Calvert-Lewin said of Ferguson in an interview with Everton's website. "He knows me well enough now to know when I need an arm around me, or need a pointer here or there." 

He has hardly looked back since and, after scoring a double in Ferguson's first game in charge, Calvert-Lewin swiftly became a key figure for Ancelotti. 

Since Ancelotti took over on December 22, 2019, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (18) has scored more Premier League goals than the 23-year-old, who has 17 – level with Kane.

A FRESH START 

While Everton's form pre-lockdown ticked up under Ancelotti, the Toffees managed just three wins from their nine matches after the restart, with Calvert-Lewin failing to add to his 13 goals. 

Tame displays against Tottenham, Wolves and Bournemouth on the final day forced the club's hand, with Ancelotti overseeing a rebuild of the engine room in the transfer window – Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure bringing athleticism and nous, with James Rodriguez providing a much-needed sprinkling of stardust. 

With a revamped midfield behind him, Calvert-Lewin has scored in every appearance he has made bar one, against Fleetwood Town in the EFL Cup. 

Since the restart in June, Calvert-Lewin has made 15 appearances and netted nine goals in all competitions, scoring on average a goal every 132 minutes. That is a better rate than Vardy (139) and Salah (144), though some way behind his fellow England forwards Kane (15 goals, averaging out at one every 92 minutes) and Raheem Sterling (14 and 97). 

His Ferguson-esque header against Brighton and Hove Albion moved him to seven headed league goals since the start of last season, more than any other player, while he scored two hat-tricks in successive Goodison Park appearances prior to Everton's 4-2 win over the Seagulls.

MOVING ON UP

It was no surprise to see Calvert-Lewin included in the England squad, but he must now prove himself on the international stage. 

Since Ancelotti arrived at Everton, Ollie Watkins is the only Englishman currently playing in the Premier League to have scored more than Calvert-Lewin, though 13 of Watkins' goals in that period came in the Championship for Brentford. 

Kane, with 17 goals from 21 appearances, has matched the Everton player’s output, while Manchester City star Sterling has 16 in 31. 

Danny Ings has been a real success story over the past year but the Southampton forward has managed two fewer goals than Calvert-Lewin, while 2019-20 Golden Boot winner Jamie Vardy sits on 11, equal with Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood and West Ham's Michail Antonio. 

Across Europe, Calvert-Lewin is the frontrunner as it stands, with his nine goals in 475 minutes played in 2020-21 leading the way across the continent's top five leagues. 

Kane and Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric are hot on his heels with eight each, while Son has seven to his name – though the Spurs duo have both played more minutes, 569 and 478 respectively. 

Bundesliga stars Haaland and Lewandowski have five apiece, with Salah – who goes head-to-head with Calvert-Lewin in the Merseyside derby on October 17 – also managing five from six games so far this term.

Now, Gareth Southgate needs to work out a way to get the best out of Calvert-Lewin with England, just as Ancelotti has at club level.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been watching clips of Filippo Inzaghi to fine-tune his game after Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti drew comparisons between the strikers.

Calvert-Lewin has scored nine goals in six games this season for Everton, including two hat-tricks, in what has been a hugely encouraging start to 2020-21 for the Toffees.

Indeed, no player across Europe's top five leagues has scored as many goals in all competitions since the season began.

The 23-year-old's form earned him a first senior England call-up ahead of a friendly with Wales on Thursday and Nations League matches against Belgium and Denmark to follow.

Ancelotti suggested there were similarities between the styles of Calvert-Lewin and former Italy, Juventus and Milan striker Inzaghi, the 2006 World Cup winner who was one of Europe's elite penalty-box strikers for more than 20 years.

As a result, Calvert-Lewin sought out some old footage of Inzaghi, a winner of two Champions Leagues and three Serie A titles, to pick up some tips.

"Carlo's definitely had a positive influence on me," Calvert-Lewin said on Tuesday. "I think, for me, with the age I'm getting to now, I'm evolving as a centre-forward, I'm learning my craft and fine-tuning certain aspects of my game.

"Beforehand, I think I was guilty of doing a lot of my best work away from the goal. Now, I'm focusing on getting in between the sticks and putting the ball in the back of the net.

"I think that analogy from Carlo was just an emphasis on being in the right place at the right time, not to say that I'm a carbon copy of Pippo Inzaghi.

"But if there's elements of his game that I've been showing in my game at the moment, them one-touch finishes and being in the right areas and putting the ball in the back of the net.

"Funnily enough, he mentioned it to me before he came out and said it in the press, and I had a little YouTube of his goals, like a 15-minute reel of him. Obviously, a lot of his goals are one-touch finishes and he's got great movement.

"You can always learn. I'm still learning now, so I always try to take it in."

Calvert-Lewin would have been unlikely to be considered for Euro 2020 had the tournament gone ahead this year, but with the coronavirus pandemic pushing the finals back to 2021, he has a good chance of making Gareth Southgate's squad if he can keep up his form.

"My performances have got me here now," he said. "Consistency is key. If I stay consistent, I like to think I'd be in with a chance of playing in the Euros."

Everton are enjoying their best start to a season for more than 100 years and are on a winning run last seen the year they won the league title in 1987.

Carlo Ancelotti's side beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-2 on Saturday through goals from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Yerry Mina and a double from James Rodriguez.

The Toffees have won all seven of their competitive matches at the start of the 2020-21 season, a run they last managed way back in the 1894-95 campaign.

They have scored 24 goals in those matches, which is more than any other side across Europe's top five leagues.

It is Everton's first seven-game winning streak since the 1986-87 season, when they became champions of England for the ninth and last time.

They sit top of the Premier League, with four wins from four games, a tally only Leicester City and champions Liverpool can match if they secure three points in their next matches.

The last time Everton won four in a row to start a league season was in 1969-70, another campaign in which they won the title.

Calvert-Lewin is the first player to score in each of Everton's first four Premier League games in a season.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti hailed "on fire" Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the striker scored his second hat-trick in the space of four matches.

Calvert-Lewin made it eight goals from five games this term with his treble in Wednesday's 4-1 EFL Cup last-16 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park.

The 23-year-old opened the scoring in the 11th minute and added two more late on after team-mate Richarlison had cancelled out Robert Snodgrass' equaliser.

Ancelotti suggested Calvert-Lewin is deserving of a first call-up to the England squad when Gareth Southgate names his side on Thursday.

"He's doing a fantastic job in the moment. He's really on fire and scoring a lot of goals," said Ancelotti of Calvert-Lewin, who also bagged a hat-trick against West Brom in the Premier League 11 days ago.

"He's in a very good moment. Whether he's the best [English striker] I don't know, but I don't care. For me, for us, he is."

Calvert-Lewin, who has scored more goals than any other Premier League player in all competitions this term, is hopeful that he has done enough to win over England boss Southgate.

"I've said many times before that it's my dream to play for England but I can't control that so I'm taking care of business at the moment to give myself the best chance to make the next step," he said.

"I'm enjoying my football, which is the main thing. You look at the chances being created and they are there for me so it's my job to put them in the back of the net and I'm obviously enjoying being able to do that at the moment."

Former Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez set up Richarlison for Everton's second goal and has now created 15 chances in four games since joining the club.

"We've got players who are capable of scoring from different areas of the pitch which is very important," Calvert-Lewin added. "When you've got that, it's a helping hand from everyone on the pitch. 

"A lot of my goals have been one-touch finishes so it's about getting in the right areas and being the man to put them in the back of the net."

The goals continued to flow in the Premier League at the weekend, but not quite at the same rate as the previous matchday had seen.

There was a first for Pep Guardiola as Manchester City were thumped 5-2 by Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium, while Manchester United overcame Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 in a thriller that was decided by a penalty scored after the final whistle.

Chelsea came back from three goals down to earn a point at West Brom, while West Ham put four past Wolves and kept a clean sheet despite manager David Moyes not being present due to a positive coronavirus test.

Not everyone stayed on brand, though. Leeds United's first two games included 14 goals but they only edged out Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane, while Southampton beat Burnley by the same scoreline.

Still, at least there wasn't a single 0-0!

With the help of Opta, we took a look at some of the more unusual stats to have emerged over the weekend.
 

PROLIFIC WITHOUT PENALTIES

Richarlison took his Premier League tally to 32 goals in Everton's 2-1 victory at Crystal Palace, but it was his first from the penalty spot. It is far from unusual for an attacker to rack up an impressive number of strikes without the assistance of spot-kicks, though. Les Ferdinand is the most prolific forward to not score a single penalty in the Premier League, with none of his 149 top-flight goals coming from the spot. In fact, rather than Richarlison, it's another player on Merseyside among the leaders in this category. Sadio Mane has scored 86 goals in the Premier League and not a single one was a penalty, putting him fourth on the list behind Emile Heskey (110) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (91).

KANE CHASING HENRY AND CESC

Harry Kane may have only scored one league goal this season, but the England captain has undoubtedly been in fine form. By setting up Lucas Moura's opener in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday he became only the third player to supply five assists across the opening three matchdays of a Premier League season – a feat only previously achieved by Ruel Fox for the Magpies in 1994-95 and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for United in 2017-18. Another assist against the Red Devils this weekend would see Kane match Thierry Henry (2004-05) and Cesc Fabregas (2014-15) with six from four matchdays, while two would be a new Premier League record.

WOLVES' PORTU-GEEZERS

A lot has been made of Jorge Mendes' influence at Wolves, which has seen an influx of Portuguese talent at Molineux. The latest such addition is defender Nelson Semedo, who became the 14th Portuguese player to appear in the Premier League for Wolves by debuting in the 4-0 loss to West Ham on Sunday. It is far from the greatest affinity between a Premier League club and players from a specific country, though. The 27 Frenchmen to turn out for Arsenal represents a joint record alongside Sunderland's 27 Irish players. Another appearance by a player from France would see Newcastle (26) draw level as well.

686 AND OUT

City's 5-2 hammering at the hands of City on Sunday represented the first time in 686 games as a manager that Guardiola has seen one of his teams concede five goals. Among Premier League title-winning bosses still active in the top flight, Guardiola lasted the longest by some distance. Carlo Ancelotti first saw one of his teams ship five in his 106th game as a coach (Parma's 5-2 loss to Sampdoria in January 1998), while it happened to Jurgen Klopp in his 209th match (Mainz's 6-1 defeat to Werder Bremen in October 2006). The first time it happened to Mourinho was in his 471st game, when Guardiola's Barcelona claimed a 5-0 victory over Real Madrid in November 2010.

INGS-DEPENDENT

Danny Ings was one goal away from sharing the Golden Boot with Jamie Vardy last season and he's continued his prolific form in 2020-21, scoring three times in as many top-flight appearances. Since the start of last season Ings has scored 25 of Southampton's 54 Premier League goals, which equates to 46 per cent. No other team has been as dependent on a single goalscorer, though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (23 of 61 - 38 per cent) and Jamie Vardy (28 of 79 - 35 per cent) are in close contention.

Carlo Ancelotti declared "the moment is good" for Everton after Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a hat-trick and James Rodriguez dazzled again in a 5-2 win over West Brom. 

The former Milan and Real Madrid boss suggested his team were slightly flattered by their winning margin, after a red card for West Brom's Kieran Gibbs helped the hosts' cause. 

But Everton have six points from six so far this season - they launched their campaign with victory at Tottenham - and the signs point to them improving significantly on last season's 12th-place finish. 

Ancelotti told BT Sport he was delighted by the partnership of Calvert-Lewin and Brazil forward Richarlison, adding that James, tucked in behind that pair, is "doing really well in this period" after his arrival from Real Madrid. 

"I have seen more ambition, more motivation, more focus, so at the moment the moment is good, but we have to pay attention because every game can be difficult," the Italian said. 

James is impressing in the early stages of his Everton career, scoring the second goal against West Brom, and Ancelotti said: "He makes football easy. He's started really well. I'm really happy for this. 

"He still has a fantastic desire to play and he loves to play with us." 

Ancelotti suggested it was prudent to "look inside the performance", saying that Everton's defensive levels did not match their attacking threat. 

Calvert-Lewin was key to the front players clicking, with the forward celebrating his first hat-trick as a professional. 

"You look at the quality we've got on the ball now," Calvert-Lewin said. "It was important we utilised it with the extra man and I think we did. 

"We created space and we penetrated when we needed to and created chances, and I was obviously happy to be in the box to tap it in." 

He revealed Ancelotti has been pushing hard on the training ground to find small improvements, and the marginal gains are paying off. 

"He's on me every day for one-touch finishes and being in the box, being in the right areas to put the ball in the back of the net," said the 23-year-old. 

"Thankfully today I was, and it's nice to know what I'm working on in training is coming off on the pitch. That's the biggest reward really." 

Carlo Ancelotti is not concerned by new signing James Rodriguez's lack of pace and physicality, joking he would have signed sprinter Usain Bolt instead if that was a priority.

The Colombia playmaker impressed for Everton in Sunday's 1-0 win over Tottenham alongside fellow debutants Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

James played five key passes, more than any other player on the field at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and also topped the charts with four interceptions.

Asked after the game if he was worried James needs time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, Ancelotti quipped eight-time Olympic gold medallist who dabbled with football in retirement would have been on his radar if that was the case.

"I am not worried about the physicality. If I was worried about that I would sign Usain Bolt, not James," he told Sky Sports.

"James is not the fastest player in the world but he has a lot of quality. We have to use him to show his quality. 

"He is not a winger, but he can come inside and receive the ball, he is very dangerous.

James Rodriguez says he was attracted to Everton by their ambition to win trophies and is aiming to help end the club's long wait for silverware.

The 29-year-old completed a surprise switch to Goodison Park on Monday for a reported fee of  £20million (€22.4m) after falling out of favour at Real Madrid.

He has won an array of team and individual honours, including two Champions Leagues, and was one of the stars of the 2014 World Cup as Colombia reached the quarter-finals.

That is in stark contrast to Everton's recent exploits, the Merseyside club having gone 25 years since beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final for their last major trophy.

However, with midfield pair Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan also being brought in for a reported £42m, James insists Everton can achieve something special under Carlo Ancelotti.

"I've come here to this top club to achieve big things," he said ahead of Sunday's trip to Tottenham.  "I think the club means business.

"A club that's serious about wanting good things to happen. It's got a lot of history and is a big name. I'm here to do well and I think we're able to do that together.

"There's a lot of serious-minded people in the club at all levels who are determined to achieve, and that will mean winning trophies. 

"It won't happen overnight – it's a long-term project. But I've seen signs we can make progress. Trophies are definitely more than a possibility."

Ancelotti played a key part in James' decision to join Everton, with the pair having worked together at Madrid and Bayern Munich.

"He has influenced me a lot. It's great to be back having a chance to work with the manager once again," James said. 

"We enjoyed a great season together in 2014 and got on well as a manager and player. It's been such a good choice to reunite with the manager."

Everton endured another underwhelming campaign last time out, finishing down in 12th place despite a mini revival when Ancelotti replaced Marco Silva in December.

But the veteran Italian coach, who like James boasts a number of major honours, believes he now has a strong enough squad to compete for a place in the top six.

"The goal we want to achieve is to fight for the first positions in the Premier League, to be able to reach Europe for the next season," he said. 

"The goal is quite clear, we have this desire, this ambition, and I think we can achieve it.

"Our fans want a club and a team that is competitive in the Premier League and so I think that we can satisfy this desire this season and we're going to do our best for this.

"The players that arrived understood that we have a project with ambition for the future. 

"This is also the reason they decided and are happy to come here and be here now. They are going to work to give their best for the club."

Asked if supporters can expect any more arrivals before the window closes next month, Ancelotti said: "With these three signings we did a fantastic job. 

"The market will be closed on October 5. There are going to be some opportunities and we can look for this. But honestly, I'm satisfied with the squad in this moment."

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