Everton V Liverpool at Goodison Park : Match Preview
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No score to settle for Distin
Everton defender Sylvain Distin will not be looking to settle a score with Liverpool's Luis Suarez on Saturday as he believes playground-style retribution has no place in the 221st Merseyside derby.
In the corresponding fixture at Goodison Park last season, the Frenchman was angered by a tackle from the Reds striker, suggesting it could have broken his ankle.
Everton boss at the time David Moyes felt it was worthy of a red card - Suarez was shown only a yellow - describing it as "over the top, down the back of the leg".
The lunchtime kick-off will be the first time Distin and Suarez have faced each other since as the Uruguay international was suspended for the return encounter at Anfield in May.
But the Everton defender only has eyes for a good result.
"It is part of the football. Some players are like that, you need to accept it," he told Press Association Sport.
"I don't think I have had many incidents like that in my career so you obviously remember it but I don't need anything to motivate myself.
"I am professional enough and I love the competition enough to find motivation with different things rather than someone who tackled me badly a year ago
"It doesn't affect me and I don't think about it. As a player if you try to remember things like that all you want to do is give (something) back and by giving back all you can get is a yellow card if you are lucky or a red card if you are unlucky.
"All it would do is penalise my team and I am not looking forward to that. I want to be on the pitch, playing the best I can.
"I am not 16 any more and I don't feel the need to prove 'If you kick me I'm going to kick you back'.
"You do that at school, not on the football pitch."
The Merseyside derby has a history of red cards - 20 in 42 Premier League meetings and 11 in the last 17 clashes.
Distin has always given the impression of being an oasis of calm amidst the hurly burly and he said it is just a question of learning to keep things in check.
"The emotion will always take over, even if it is not a derby," said the 35-year-old, speaking at an event for Everton in the Community's award-winning Safe Hands initiative which helps to integrate young offenders back into the community by equipping them with qualifications and life skills.
"In any game no matter who you play - it could be a cup game against a Conference team - emotions are part of the game.
"You have to learn to control them and use them in your favour."
Defenders Antolin Alcaraz (hernia) and Tony Hibbert (calf) are both available after lengthy lay-offs but are unlikely to be thrown straight into the Goodison Park clash.
Striker Arouna Kone (knee) and midfielder Darron Gibson (knee) are long-term casualties.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists his and Everton counterpart Roberto Martinez's preference for possession football will take none of the intensity out of the 221st Merseyside derby.
After last season's 2-2 draw at Goodison Park Reds captain Steven Gerrard, frustrated after Suarez had a last-minute winner ruled out, labelled the Toffees a "long ball team similar to Stoke".
However, the match statistics did not back up his assessment and he retracted the slur a couple of days later.
When they meet again on the blue side of Stanley Park on Saturday possession stats will be even more keenly scrutinised as new Everton boss Martinez has a ball-playing philosophy similar to the one Rodgers has implemented at Anfield.
But the Reds manager does not think both teams trying to maximise their time on the ball will take any fire out of an encounter which has witnessed 20 red cards in 42 Premier League meetings.
"It is going to be a fiercely-competitive game," he said.
"It doesn't take the intensity out by having the football. The idea of having possession is to penetrate and have aggression in your game.
"A lot of our game is based on that aggressive nature. It won't take anything out of the game, it will only add to it.
"Our game is based upon the intensity of our pressure, to get the ball back as quickly as we can and look to have superiority with numbers around the ball.
"When you analyse our last performance against Fulham (a 4-0 home win) and assess it over and above the result we were just short of 700 passes in the game, which for me is a sign of the fluidity and the fluency of the team as much as anything.
"Our rhythm in the game was good. We had nearly 70 per cent of the ball but with that we had 30 shots at goal and we scored four goals and could have had more.
"It just typified the confidence of the players and their belief.
"We are averaging two goals a game and whatever ground we go to we always feel we can score.
"We (he and Martinez) have the inherent belief of dominating the ball, controlling the game with the football rather than without and looking to play attractive, attacking football.
"If a player makes a mistake trying to pass the ball we (he and Martinez) are both from the same bottle in terms of we will take the blame for them for asking them to be brave."
Left-back Jose Enrique has been ruled out with a knee injury which requires surgery so Aly Cissokho looks set to keep his place for the 221st Merseyside derby with Everton.
Striker Daniel Sturridge has been struggling with a dead leg but that did not prevent him playing 90 minutes for England against Germany in midweek.
Captain Gerrard is also playing through a hip problem but that will not be enough keep him out.
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