Martinez sees grounds for optimism ahead of 'unique' Merseyside derby
Liverpool can go top of the Premier League, at least for a couple of hours, by beating Everton at Goodison Park today, while the blue half of Merseyside can go level on points with their arch rivals by winning a game which offers more grounds for optimism in both camps than for many years.
"It is a confident derby," Everton boss Roberto Martinez (right) reflected, "a game which both teams are looking forward to. It's not like when you are struggling for a win and you feel a little bit inferior. This one is quite unique – two teams with very similar football concepts who have both had a good start to the season and it is a good opportunity for us because we are playing at home.''
Liverpool are 11 points better off than they were after 11 games last season following their best start to a Premier League campaign in five years. They have scored more league goals in the calendar year – 61 – than any other top-flight team.
Everton, for their part, are unbeaten in the calendar year at Goodison Park in the league – a run of 14 games in which they have conceded only eight goals and kept nine clean sheets.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is yet to manage a team to victory over Everton. He lost both games when in charge of Swansea, while Liverpool drew both games with their neighbours last season.
Rodgers is considering giving a derby debut to 20-year-old left-back Jon Flanagan.