The Liverpool captain is happy to admit that he Toffees might finish above his side this season but does not see it as a “big deal” as David Moyes’s side have no trophies
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has stoked the fires of rivalry ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby, arguing that rivals Everton cannot brag about any kind of superiority without winning any trophies.
David Moyes’ side travel to Anfield on Sunday as they look to maintain their five-point lead over the Reds and hold on to sixth place but the midfielder insists that finishing sixth or seventh is “not a real big deal”.
Gerrard told reporters: “That’s the great thing about the derby. Yeah, we are fighting for sixth and seventh position but it’s still a massive game, a special game. Everyone is up on the red side, I can guarantee that, and that’s why it’s so special.”
Like Gerrard, Jamie Carragher is a graduate of the Liverpool academy and knows the importance of the fixture better than most. This will be the veteran centre-back’s final derby, however, as he nears retirement and the Reds captain feels that the swansong will add to the occasion.
“I think it’s probably in his head – his own personal challenge,” said Gerrard of his veteran team-mate. “He’ll want to win his last derby and finish above Everton. That will definitely be in Carra’s head, 100 per cent – it’s in everyone’s head at the moment. But, you know, sixth or seventh is not a real big deal, is it?
“I think Everton is the result he really wants. If you said to him he’d have to pick one result over the season, it’s definitely Everton. That’s just because of the local rivalry, family members, bragging rights and all that kind of stuff. In derby week, he gets a bit tense and a bit edgy.”
Should Everton achieve a positive result on Sunday they will be on course to finish above Liverpool in the Premier League for the second consecutive season, not that Gerrard attaches any significance to this.
“Yeah but they haven’t won anything have they?” he added. “It’s nothing to finish sixth or seventh in this league, you know that. Listen, if Everton finish above us and their supporters are really happy and their players and everyone is really happy, then that’s up to them.
“But if we finish above Everton there will be no celebrating or anything around here because it’s nothing really. It’s no big deal. No big deal. We want to win the derby, of course we do. We want to finish above Everton, of course we do.
“In the big picture is it really, really important? I don’t know. Maybe not.”
Gerrard also went on to discuss his own preparation for the game – a fixture that has become known for its frenetic pace and full-blooded challenges.
He explained: “I don’t get wound up for derbies. I just prepare for them and want to play well in them personally and I want to win them. I feel I as if I can contribute personally and help the team to win them and that’s the way I prepare. I don’t wind myself up.
“I used to when I was younger. I probably found myself watching three-quarters or half of them from the dressing room. Winding yourself up for football matches is not good. I learnt that quite a few years ago. You just end up getting issued with yellow and red cards.”