Liverpool have to prepare for Everton's Romelu Lukaku, Simon Mignolet says
By Patrick Surlis
Last Updated: 30/03/17 1:28pm
Simon Mignolet says Liverpool are aware of the threat posed by Romelu Lukaku but insists his side are ready for the challenge.
The Everton striker, who leads the Premier League goal tally with 21 this season, is expected to start up front when they visit Anfield, live on Sky Sports on Saturday.
Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet is a team-mate of Lukaku's with the Belgium national side and admits he will look to use that to his advantage this weekend.
"With Romelu, Kevin [Mirallas] and also Divock [Origi], there has been some back-and-forth," Mignolet told Sky Sports News HQ.
"When you spend 10 days together with them in the same hotel and you know you are playing the Merseyside derby afterwards, especially as a 'keeper facing them, it gives you a bit of insight and information, but the same goes for them.
"I think it is nice to play against them but it's much more about the club getting three points.
"Lukaku is in a good moment and we will have to deal with him. We have to prepare ourselves for that but it's Liverpool against Everton, not us against Lukaku.
"He has all the ability he needs to be a very good player in the Premier League. He has strength, finishing and he is very important for Everton.
"He can do as much as he wants to do in his whole career, we just have to try and keep him quiet this Saturday."
Liverpool won just two of their 12 matches in January and February but have bounced back in March with wins over Arsenal and Burnley and a draw at Manchester City.
And Mignolet says the advice from Jurgen Klopp has been to treat the Merseyside derby as any other game.
"That's the big message, to not do anything differently," Mignolet added. "We as football players have to stay focused. We have to do our professional job and that's playing football.
"Of course there's much more at stake than the three points. There is bragging rights but when it's kick-off time we will step onto the pitch and we have to see it as our job.
"We have to do the things we always do and put in the best performance we can to get the three points. That's the only thing we can think about, not anything else that might get you flustered or thinking about something different."
Klopp's side, who sit fourth in the table, can boost their chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a victory on Saturday.
"That's what the overall objective was at the beginning of the season," Mignolet said. "That's what the objective will be until the end of the season.
"We know there will be a lot of competition, there always will be in the Premier League. We are fighting and we will do it until the end of the season."
The Belgium goalkeeper was briefly dropped in favour of Loris Karius earlier this season, but has returned as Klopp's first choice.
"I just try to do my job," Mignolet said. "It's never nice to sit on the bench. Everybody knows it is not what you want as a professional footballer but it's about responding and coming back.
"I'm happy I am playing now and I'm trying to do my best to help the team. In the end that's the main thing. As a club we want to meet our objectives to get into the Champions League next season.
"That's what we fight for and that's the only thing I personally think about also. I don't look to myself too much, it's about the dressing room, our team-mates and the club itself reaching that objective to play in Europe.
"Liverpool has always been on top both in England and Europe and so we will try to do that next year."