NIGEL MARTYN: In-form Everton can finally clinch Anfield derby glory
IT'S been 11 years since Everton last won at Anfield but the Blues should head across Stanley Park this weekend believing they can finally end that barren run. The last time the sides met at Goodison in November we were in the middle of an injury crisis. We were struggling for form and confidence, and despite having plenty of pressure we weren't able to make it count. In the end Liverpool were comfortable 2-0 winners but I believe we're now a very different proposition. The response to the FA Cup exit against Birmingham City has been excellent. Two wins, two clean sheets and our unbeaten league run now stands at nine games. In fact we haven't lost in the league since the derby and in a way that defeat was the turning point for us. Since then players have come back from injury and there is a real buzz around the place. Liverpool are a great football institution but they aren't firing on all cylinders at the moment. They beat Bolton at the weekend but they aren't playing the kind of free-flowing football we've seen from them in the past. There is also ongoing speculation about their manager's position and that's never helpful. The Reds are involved in a real battle for fourth place and the pressure is all on them this Saturday. With Manchester City just behind them, plus Aston Villa and Spurs also going well, they can't afford to slip-up. We have to keep it tight and if we do that we're always capable of nicking a goal. That defeat at Goodison will still hurt the Blues but nobody should need any extra motivation for the derby. The players know how important it is for the supporters to get a positive result and I'm sure David Moyes' side will be right up for it. I wasn't fortunate enough to win a derby at Anfield but I remember in my first one we drew 0-0. I had a fairly decent game but so did Jerzy Dudek and we couldn't get past him. I only managed one derby win and that was when Lee Carsley got the winner at Goodison in 2004. It was a special day and what made it even better was that we were off to Newcastle that night for our Christmas party. Timing wise it was perfect. In recent years the Reds have had the edge but it's time we got three points against them and I believe we've got a real chance of doing that this Saturday.
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