Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby.
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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has played down the significance of Sunday’s Merseyside derby by claiming that it does not matter if his team finish below Everton in the Premier League this season.
Everton visit Anfield on Sunday knowing that victory will guarantee they finish above their city neighbours for the second season in a row.
However, Gerrard has dismissed talk of a power shift, pointing to Everton’s 18-year trophy drought and the fact neither team has mounted a challenge for the league title this season.
“If Everton finish above us and their supporters are really happy and their players and everyone is really happy, then that’s up to them,” he said, in comments reported by several British newspapers on Saturday.
“But if we finish above Everton there will be no celebrating or anything around here, because it’s nothing, really.
“It’s no big deal. We want to win the derby; of course we do. We want to finish above Everton; of course we do. In the big picture, is it really important? I don’t know. Maybe not.”
Asked if Everton were now the dominant force on Merseyside, he replied: “Yeah, but they haven’t won anything, have they? It’s nothing to finish sixth or seventh in this league.”
Despite his own apparent antipathy, Gerrard conceded that his team-mate Jamie Carragher will be desperate to prevail in what will be his final Merseyside derby before he retires at the end of the campaign.
“He’ll want to win his last derby and finish above Everton,” Gerrard said.
“That will definitely be in Carra’s head, 100 per cent.”
Venue Anfield, Sunday 1.30pm
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Last season Liverpool 3 Everton 0
Referee M Oliver
This season’s matches 20 Y56, R1, 2.85 cards per game
Subs from Gulacsi, Jones, Borini, Skrtel, Shelvey, Wisdom, Coates, Suso, Robinson, Assaidi, Coady
Injured Sterling (thigh, 11 May), Kelly (knee, 11 May), Flanagan (knee, 11 May), Allen (shoulder, Aug)
Suspended Suárez (second of 10)
Form guide WDDDWL Disciplinary record Y51 R2
Leading scorer Suárez 23
Subs from Mucha, Heitinga, Jelavic, Stones, Hibbert, Oviedo, Naismith, Francisco, Vellios, Duffy, Hitzlsperger, Barkley
Doubtful Gibson (thigh)
Injured Neville (knee, unknown)
Form guide WLDWDW
Disciplinary record Y57 R3
Leading scorer Fellaini 11
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last four league meetings with Everton (five in all competitions).
Everton have won just one of the last 12 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (W1, D4, L7).
The Toffees have also failed to win on their last 12 league visits to Anfield (14 in all competitions). Their last victory there came in 1999, courtesy of a Kevin Campbell goal that earned Everton the three points.
Liverpool v Everton has seen more red cards than any other fixture in Barclays Premier League history (20).
Liverpool have lost just one of their last nine league matches (W5, D3, L1).
The Reds have kept a clean sheet in three of their last four league matches.
Liverpool have scored nine goals in the two Premier League games Luis Suarez has missed this season.
Steven Gerrard is just two goals short of 100 in the Premier League.
Everton have lost one of their last eight league matches (W5, D2, L1).
The Toffees have come from behind to win five times in this season’s Premier League.
Everton manager David Moyes has won just four of his 24 meetings with Liverpool in all competitions (13 defeats). All of those victories were at Goodison Park.
Phil Jagielka has made 499 career club appearances, while Seamus Coleman has played 99 times for Everton.