Everton determined to end Liverpool’s unbeaten run – again
Marco Silva’s side, nearing relegation zone, hoping for first Anfield triumph in 20 years
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp and Everton manager Marco Silva. Composite image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images; Stu Forster/Getty Images
Marco Silva believes Everton’s players have not lost faith in his methods and can transform their season by going “face-to-face” with Liverpool in pursuit of the club’s first Anfield triumph in 20 years.
The Everton manager remains under intense pressure going into the 234th Merseyside derby, with his team two points above the relegation zone having suffered seven defeats in their past 10 league games. Liverpool, by stark contrast, are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, unbeaten at Anfield in 47 league games, and equalled a club record of 31 league games unbeaten with Saturday’s victory over Brighton.
Liverpool have also lost only one of the past 25 league derbies, none in the past nine years, and last tasted an Anfield defeat against Everton in September 1999, when Walter Smith was the visiting manager.
Everton ended Liverpool’s previous run of 31 unbeaten matches with a Wayne Clarke goal in March 1988, but Silva believes last season’s performance at Anfield – minus the Jordan Pickford/Divock Origi finale in the 96th minute – provides more relevant hope for tonight.
“I didn’t know about that fact,” he said of Clarke’s winner. “I know about 20 years without a win and because of that we have to look at the game as a good opportunity and do something the club didn’t do for 20 years. They are in a very good moment and maybe the toughest opponent we can face. At home they are almost unbeaten against everyone who went there. You can look at it this way or the other way – it is a good opportunity for us in a special game. I like the special games and my players and our fans have to like the special games too. I know the derby record in the past did not give us a good feeling, but we have to go there and embrace the challenge, to enjoy it.
In some moments in the last few months the luck was against us, but it will not always be like that
“If you ask me what is the main thing I want, it is for the players to perform like we did there last season. The result could be different for us if we play like that again. We did almost everything good in last season’s game apart from that last minute, but we embraced that game and went face-to-face with them. That is the type of performance I want to see from us again.”
David Moyes has been discussed within the Everton boardroom as a potential replacement for Silva, but the manager cites Sunday’s display at Leicester as evidence the team remains behind him.
He added: “In some moments in the last few months the luck was against us, but it will not always be like that. When you see players working like they did in the last game, the team spirit in a tough moment with that attitude and commitment, it gives you hope that things will change. If we had more confidence at the start of the second half on Sunday, we score the second and kill the game. But this is the moment we are in and we have to deal with it. Does this moment take from us the belief and the confidence in the way we work? No. They showed to me again at Leicester the commitment and attitude that we need and which can change the results.”
Jürgen Klopp has not lost any of his eight Merseyside derbies, and another victory would bring up a century of Premier League wins as Liverpool manager. But Klopp, who will be without his first-choice goalkeeper Alisson through suspension, believes Liverpool’s proud derby record does not help his team and serves only to motivate Everton, whose forward Richarlison has signed a new five-year contract despite interest from suitors including Manchester United.
Klopp said: “It helps more the other team to be the first to win in a long time. We never used that before a game, we try to make sure we are in the best possible shape to play the game in the way we can, and you see that with the different games we have played against them that it is a hugely important game for both teams.
“Most of the time really tight results, late deciders, especially last year, I think at Everton as well. One game we won 4-0 but I think they got a red card in that game. No, the history we can not really involve because the history in this case is so positive it does not help.”