LIVERPOOL, England — Marco Silva has hit back at Jurgen Klopp’s suggestion that Sunday’s Merseyside derby is Everton’s World Cup final.
Klopp said the 233rd meeting between the local rivals would take on greater significance for Everton because of the circumstances surrounding Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Anfield in December.
Silva, however, believes Liverpool celebrated Divock Origi‘s 96th-minute winner as if they had won the World Cup themselves as Klopp was fined £8,000 by the FA for his reaction to the goal.
“I didn’t see [a] big, big difference,” Silva said of December’s derby at a news conference on Friday. “I managed my first derby with Liverpool in December and what I felt was a special match for both teams.
“They celebrated that lucky goal — a lucky moment they had in the last seconds of the match — [like it] was a final of World Cup for us and to them. They celebrated more or less the same. I didn’t see a big difference.”
Everton last won a Merseyside derby in October 2010, having failed to beat Liverpool in their last 18 attempts.
“We have to be ourselves, to believe in ourselves,” Silva added. “It’s a long time, a long period without a win for us as a football club. That shows it’s a difficult match.
“If we can perform on the level we performed last December it will be very good because in that performance we are always close to winning the match.
“If I can sign now to perform in the same way, I will sign straight [away] because that means we will be really close to winning the match. Because in that match we deserved something more.”
Georginio Wijnaldum is expecting a “big fight” at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, with Liverpool sitting one point clear at the top of the Premier League.
The fixture has produced 21 red cards in the Premier League era — more than any other clash — and Klopp wants his players to channel the intensity of the derby in the correct way.
“We always want to be very, very, very aggressive, but in the best football way,” he told a news conference. “That means being ready to hurt yourself and not the other guy. It’s a ball we fight for, not a bone or whatever.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino is in contention to feature on the weekend, having sat out the midweek thrashing of Watford due to an ankle injury.