Liverpool V Everton at Anfield : Match Preview

05 May 2013 01:04
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Enrique aware of derby importance

Liverpool defender Jose Enrique claims to have met only two Everton fans during almost two years living in a city with one of the world's greatest footballing rivalries.

But that does not mean he is not acutely aware what winning the 220th Merseyside derby will mean.

The Spaniard admits he is not one for going out much but he may decide to break that habit if he and his team-mates are victorious at Anfield.

His best memory of a derby win remains Newcastle's 5-1 demolition of Sunderland in October 2010, after which followed an equally memorable night out with Magpies captain Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez.

However, Enrique said running that result a very close second was last season's FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton at Wembley.

That was a day which broke the hearts of Evertonians, craving a first trophy since 1995.

Despite his lack of engagement with the blue half of the city Enrique knows what a repeat performance would represent.

"I have two top derby memories," the 27-year-old told Press Association Sport.

"One was when we beat Everton in the semi-final last season - not because we played an incredible game but just because we beat them.

"The best one I had was against Sunderland when we beat them 5-0 on Halloween and then I had a night out with Coloccini and Jonas and it was incredible.

"But for the importance of a derby it was Everton in the semi-final.

"The best thing for a player is the derby atmosphere. In the stadium it is incredible, it is like you are playing Barcelona.

"If you win then after the game and you go out for dinner it means a lot for people."

Enrique added: "I think I know two Everton fans.

"One taxi driver I remember told me he supported them and we started talking about football. The other I met in town and he asked to have a picture with me but no-one has ever said anything bad to me."

Manager Brendan Rodgers will have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from.

The long-standing shoulder problem which prompted captain Steven Gerrard's substitution last weekend is not expected to prevent his participation after treatment in the week.

Forward Fabio Borini is edging closer to match fitness after his appearance from the bench at Newcastle following a lengthy lay-off and is likely to be among the substitutes again.

Everton boss David Moyes has called for his side to be more ruthless in front of goal as they head into their final three games of the season.

The Toffees, sixth in the Barclays Premier League table and still in the hunt for a European berth, have scored just once in their past three matches - Steven Pienaar's strike in the 1-0 win over Fulham last weekend.

With Everton having lost only one of eight top-flight games building up to the Merseyside derby, Moyes is pleased in many ways with how his team are finishing their campaign.

Their goal tally this term - currently standing at 52 in the league - has frequently concerned him, though, and the Scot wants to see a greater clinical edge from his men.

"We have played well," Moyes said. "We have done a lot of good things, but we would like it to be better.

"We have just dried up a little bit on the goals side at this moment in time.

"I couldn't say all year that we have been banging them in as I would like, but I think we have been up there with the most shots and crosses.

"We have made plenty of attempts, but then we are maybe just not getting the finish to it.

"So it is something we have got to try to make sure of in these final three games - that when we get opportunities, we take them, we are clinical and we make them count."

Everton could have Darron Gibson back but captain Phil Neville has been ruled out.

Moyes said midfielder Gibson, who missed last Saturday's 1-0 win over Fulham through an injury picked up a week earlier against Sunderland, has a chance of featuring.

There was bad news regarding Neville, though, with Moyes revealing that a knee problem will keep the former Manchester United man - also not involved in the Fulham game - out of what will be the last Merseyside derby before his career as an Everton player finishes this summer.

Source: PA

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