With the international break wrapping up and players returning to their squads, all eyes turn to the next, most important match ahead. The Merseyside Derby is the next fixture for our Reds and with every match weighing heavily on the minds of supporters and players alike, this one almost counts for double. One player, though, insists he isn’t worried about what the match means for either campaign.
“I don’t think about that or worry about that,” Philippe Coutinho said to the Mirror for their Sunday edition. “Right now, Liverpool is higher in the league, that’s the reality and that’s all we have to think about.”
Cheeky and succinct, to be sure, but it’s true. Liverpool sit a whole six points clear of their neighbors at fourth place, but a loss could easily send the Reds out of the battle for a Champions League spot, while Everton have gained momentum over the past few months. Coutinho, though, is adamant that Liverpool know the stakes.
“We know what it means. The people of Liverpool live this match with so much emotion and this time it is even more because Everton have improved so much in recent weeks,” he continued. “We will be ready. The derby is a very special match for everyone, the fans and the players.
“We know it won’t be easy, but we know we have to to win, for our fans, for our morale and for everybody.”
Certainly for the morale, as the beginning of the year was less than stellar for all parties involved and no one needs reminding. But coming off the backs of a brutal draw against Manchester City and a skin-of-their-teeth win against Burnley, a win against Everton could be just the thing to spur on the Reds for the final eight matches of the season.
The Merseyside derby kicks off from Anfield at 12.30 BST, Saturday April 1st. Start marking off your calendars.