In Focus: Resurgent Richarlison can secure Everton's top-flight status
Everton have two games left to preserve their Premier League status and remain in a sticky situation — but Richarlison is showing the kind of form that could get the Toffees out of trouble.
After a barren spell of 10 games without a goal, the Brazilian forward has found the net five times in his last eight outings and become a talismanic figure for his team.
As Frank Lampard's side prepare to take on Crystal Palace tonight — knowing that a win will secure survival — we shine the spotlight on their man of the moment.
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin missing a significant chunk of the season through injury and struggling since his return, Richarlison has had to step up and become Everton's main offensive focal point.
And as the Toffees' scrap for safety reaches crunch time, he seems to have regained his form when it counts, having netted just five times across all competitions until last month.
In recent weeks, he has really taken games by the scruff of the neck and made some crucial contributions — most notably the winning strike against Chelsea at Goodison Park three weeks ago.
Everton have won three penalties in their last eight games — two away to Burnley and one at home to Brentford.
Richarlison has taken responsibility and scored from 12 yards on all three occasions, bringing his overall league tally to nine league goals for the season.
The Toffees ultimately lost 3-2 in both instances — making their bid to dodge the drop no easier — but knowing they have a reliable performer in such high-pressure situations will provide some level of reassurance going into the final two matches.
Able to operate on either flank or lead the line, Richarlison's versatile nature allows Lampard to be flexible in attack.
And with Salomon Rondon missing the rest of the campaign through suspension, it is a quality that could prove vital to Everton's survival mission.
With Calvert-Lewin still well short of his brilliant best and another striker unavailable, the Toffees' No7 might need to be even more adaptable than usual heading into four potentially decisive days.
The best is yet to come
Speaking earlier this month, Lampard oozed positivity about Richarlison — but suggested that there is a lot more to come from the 25-year-old.
He said: "I think [Richarlison] is a fantastic, huge talent, with a work ethic which is the reason why Everton fans are so drawn to him.
"Of course he wants to score more goals on a regular basis. It is all there for him. You forget how young he is because he has been in England for quite a while.
"The reality is he is playing at a really high level and is a huge focal point of the team."
If Richarlison scores the goal that fires Everton to safety, he will make himself a hero among Toffees fans.
But it could be his last act in blue, with reports suggesting that he wants to leave the club this summer in search of silverware.
Considering the Merseysiders are still some way off being a force of any kind, an exit in the upcoming transfer window would appear to be a significant possibility.
Goodison chiefs would hardly be in a position to stand in the South American's way — though they could certainly command a healthy fee for a player with two years left to run on his contract.