London (AFP) – Sam Allardyce said Friday that the fixture calendar has presented Everton with a golden opportunity to end their long winless run in the Merseyside derby as he bids to snuff out Liverpool’s attackers.
It is more than seven years and 16 matches since the blue half of the city celebrated victory over their closest rivals, with Liverpool winning four of the past five encounters.
But the derby falls between the two legs of Liverpool’s Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s side will head into Saturday’s match with more than half an eye on the second leg after their stunning 3-0 victory in the first outing.
Allardyce is hoping to exploit the situation, saying: “I think it’s an advantage we could possibly take. If we had to play Liverpool in a derby match, it’s a good time to do that. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
The Everton boss was impressed by Liverpool’s performance against City, who convincingly beat Everton last weekend, and is hoping his side can adopt similar tactics at Goodison Park.
“If I have to say my players, ‘we’ve got to do to Liverpool what Liverpool did to Man City tomorrow’, that would be the plan,” he said.
Everton held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw at Anfield in December in just Allardyce’s second Premier League game in charge and there is no doubt the former England boss has steadied the ship after the club flirted with the bottom three earlier in the season under Ronald Koeman.
But he remains a divisive figure among Everton fans and there is continued speculation that his tenure will not continue beyond the end of the season.
The Toffees boss hit out at the media for fuelling such talk, saying: “Your lives are really run by Facebook, Twitter and Instagram far too much. You’re professional journalists, you shouldn’t listen to speculating unprofessionals.”
“I personally don’t think I could have done much more than I have done with the staff that I’ve got in the period of time I’ve been working here,” he added.