Round: Reds favourites for cup semi
Everton assistant boss Steve Round insists Liverpool are favourites for Saturday's FA Cup semi-final despite the Toffees ensuring they will go into the clash as the top Merseyside club in the Barclays Premier League following a thumping 4-0 win over Sunderland.
Manager David Moyes rested Nikica Jelavic, Leighton Baines and Tim Cahill with Wembley in mind but they were far superior to the Black Cats and made their dominance count in the second half.
Round said: "I think they are favourites. They've got so many great players and they're such a good football club with history and tradition, but we're a lot closer to them than we were."
Magaye Gueye netted his first Everton goal in the 52nd minute before a late flurry added gloss to the scoreline. Steven Pienaar curled in a beauty in the 75th minute, and 60 seconds later Leon Osman followed suit before substitute Victor Anichebe wrapped things up with a volley that took a big deflection off Jack Colback.
The result lifted Everton four points clear of Liverpool ahead of Tuesday's clash with Blackburn, where they will be looking for only a second league win in 10 games.
Round does not feel form will have much impact next weekend, though, saying: "You're better off being confident going into any game, of course.
"But I think a semi-final at Wembley is a one-off, and I think a local derby is a one-off, so put the two together and there's always that element of FA Cup fate. Whether you've got momentum or not, I'm not sure it matters - it's all on the day.
"We've hit some great form and great credit to the chairman that he managed to recruit us some grade A players in January. That's given everybody a lift and it's put us on a run of form and gained us momentum. The other players have fed off that and their confidence has come through."
Moyes and Round will certainly have some tough decisions to make after seeing a number of players stake their claim for a place in the side on Saturday. Gueye in particular caught the eye on the left wing and took his first Toffees goal with real aplomb, while Anichebe again showed his knack for coming off the bench and getting on the scoresheet.
Round said: "I think it's very important for any successful football club that the competition for places is there. The boys went out there today and proved that, should the manager pick them, they're ready."