Sam Allardyce says Everton can challenge Liverpool if they deliver their best performance
Last Updated: 10/12/17 2:40pm
Sam Allardyce says his Everton side can challenge Liverpool if they deliver their best performance in Sunday's Merseyside derby live on Sky Sports.
The Toffees head into the Derby Day clash against Liverpool as underdogs after a poor start to the season saw them spend time in the relegation places.
But they are hitting a good run of form at the right time, winning and keeping clean sheets in each of their last three games in all competitions, and the new Everton manager is hoping the recent streak can help them produce a match-winning performance.
"I'd prefer it to be two months further down the road rather than this Sunday, there has to be more confidence gained by the players themselves and not me by the results that they have just achieved, which gives them the opportunity to go and do their best," Allardyce told Soccer Saturday.
"They need to use the occasion to produce their best performance, be brave enough to go out there and deliver it by the fact that you are a professional footballer playing for Everton and you have to give your best in this particular game.
"You have to give your very best in every game, but this particular one, if everyone can get an extra two or three per cent out of themselves and deliver their best performance, then we can challenge Liverpool on the day.
"We've set out some tactics, in the short period of time we've got, to help the players to deliver a performance and give them an opportunity to get a result. I think they can carry that out, and I say that with confidence because I've proven it before with all the other clubs that I've been at on any specific day.
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"This game is special, it is so special to everyone in the city that they can't bear to live with a defeat and it takes them a long time to get over it. Unfortunately, that's been the Everton fans far too many times so you've got to look at that responsibility as a player to give your best performance.
"If they don't give us a victory, then I'm sure the Everton fans will be very disappointed but if they can say 'they played well, they gave it a right go', well why can't we give it a right go and get a result for them?"
Everton are currently sitting in the top half of the Premier League table, with Allardyce saying that a finish in the top 10 is the minimum requirement this season with the squad he has at his disposal.
"Two results made so much more difference about the club and where we might be so it shows you just how important it is to win back-to-back games when you're in a little bit of trouble," he added.
Allardyce at Anfield
Liverpool’s only defeat in their last 20 games in all competitions at Anfield either side of last summer (W12 D7) was a 2-1 loss to Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace on April 23 in the Premier League.
"We were hovering in the bottom three and all of a sudden, we put two wins together so we've got to use that platform now to make sure we don't slide down there again and I don't know yet whether we will or we won't.
"I'm certainly going to make damn sure that we don't so I'm hoping we don't have to play catch up anymore like we did at Crystal Palace and Sunderland. We can go on and try and get a top half of the table finish minimum.
"I think that can be done with the squad that is already here because there are big injuries that need to come back. I think if they return, stay fit and we get no other long-term injuries, then we can move forward very quickly in achieving that goal.
"The big joy and way forward for me is the three games I've been slightly involved in with the clean sheets, it has quickly shown how the players can move in the right direction to turn these results around.
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"There's a vast amount of players here at the club that have a responsibility and for me to tell them that they need to do better and deliver more, tell them what's expected of them and if everybody starts doing that on and off the field, the results will continue to improve."
Watch Everton take on Liverpool in the Merseyside derby live on Sky Sports Premier League from 1pm on Sunday.