Rodgers: Derby is not a benchmark
Published 04/05/2013 | 07:46
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists Sunday's 220th Merseyside derby does not represent a significant landmark in the fortunes of both clubs.
A win for the Toffees - who have not been victorious at Anfield since 1999 - would ensure they finished above their near-neighbours for the second successive season. That would also be the first time that has happened since the Reds returned to the top flight in 1962, but Rodgers dismissed suggestions the match symbolised a power shift on Merseyside.
"It is not a benchmark, it is another game to show we have the qualities to compete," he said.
"I think every game is a test for us. Our idea is that going forwards we are going to be in a position where we can challenge consistently at that level next year. Traditionally for many years Liverpool has been the top team in the city, no question about that.
"Obviously last year Everton finished above ourselves but for us it is very important to finish as high as we possibly can. We had a difficult start and didn't win a game until the end of September but the players and staff have worked very hard.
"We just have to maintain the standards we have set in the second half of the season. Last week (a 6-0 win at Newcastle) we had that and for us the idea is to maintain that standard. Whether we win 6-0 or 1-0 the objective will be to win the game.
"We have three games left and we want to win every game."
It will be Rodgers' first experience of an Anfield derby, having seen his side concede a 2-0 lead at Goodison Park earlier in the season.
"I am really looking forward to feeling the atmosphere at Anfield. I think all derby matches have an intensity to them," he said. "As a manager every game is important, derby games in particular, but the concentration has to be controlled.
"These games are always intense and there is passion but they are not always the best games. But you have two teams who will be fierce and competitive but who will want to play the game in the right way."