Everton – Liverpool Preview: Rodgers buoyed by form ahead of Merseyside derby

The Reds lead the form table over the last six games and are through to the FA Cup fifth round, while the hosts have just one win in the Premier League in the last seven games

Liverpool and Everton contest the 224th Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday, with visiting boss Brendan Rodgers delighted to have seen his team turn a corner of late.

Rodgers’ men have taken 16 points from their last six Premier League outings and booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round with a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers in midweek.

The Anfield outfit have not lost the derby since 2010 but were denied victory in this season’s reverse fixture by a late Phil Jagielka thunderbolt.

With Rodgers’ side eager to maintain upward momentum against their near-neighbours, the Liverpool boss talked up the squad’s renewed belief in Thursday’s pre-match news conference.

“They are incredible games to be involved in as a manager and for the players. We prepare really well for every game and this game is no different,” he explained.

“Our momentum at the moment is at a real good level. I’m happy with how it’s going for us, considering where we were at the first part of the season.

“In these types of games the form goes out of the window. The derby games bring a different sort of emotion. At this moment in time, we as a team are operating at a really good level.

“So, whether it’s home or away, we have real confidence that we can go and win the game.”

Everton too have managed to arrest poor form of late – having bounced back from their four-match losing run in the Premier League over the Christmas and new year period.

While a run of one victory from five outings since then is far from ideal form, Martinez insists his side are much improved from where they were at the start of the year.

“Obviously, the last derby that we had at Goodison [3-3 in November 2013] was a phenomenal football game with plenty of goals and two teams with a real attacking mindset,” the Spaniard said.

“I expect very much the same – two teams that are going into the fixture in very good moments of form.

“Liverpool have found their way of performing and are really enjoying a good run and we feel in a similar situation in terms of the confidence of the win that we had at the weekend.”

Liverpool’s Lazar Markovic is expected to be available despite suffering a knock against Bolton, while Martinez could welcome back James McCarthy (hamstring) and give a debut to loan signing Aaron Lennon.

Tim Howard, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar remain sidelined for Saturday’s hosts, however.

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