Belfast Telegraph

Toffees can keep 'SAS' at bay, says Everton boss Roberto Martinez

Everton boss Roberto Martinez is confident his team can deal with Liverpool's fearsome forward pairing.

Strike duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge head into this weekend's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park having scored 18 goals between them in all competitions.

Martinez is well aware of the danger they pose but is concerned mainly about getting his own side's approach right rather than formulating a specific plan to nullify them.

The Spaniard said: "They have had a very good start to the season, they are very influential in their team. From that partnership up front, they have got a real goalscoring threat.

"You do see why Liverpool have been successful this season, it is not an accident. I do feel they are a strong side. But as a team, you are always used to coping with threats of the opposition.

"Not long ago we had a very good team full of individuals here – Spurs – and we dealt with them really well.

"It is more about what we can do and how we can perform in the derby rather than being worried about what the opposition can bring."

Everton's current strength appears to be their defence, which has not conceded in their last three outings.

On the downside they have not scored in their last two matches either – goalless draws against Tottenham and Crystal Palace – but Martinez is not overly concerned.

He said: "We haven't been scoring goals due to certain aspects that we need to work on but the way we have been getting in the final third has been fantastic. That is where the excitement comes.

"We are very close to getting into a position where we can control games and score goals.

"We see it as a normal process we need to get through rather than something that is lacking."

Both Merseyside clubs have started the season well with the Reds just two points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal after 11 games and Everton three points further back.

Because of that, Martinez knows there is more than local bragging rights at stake, particularly when the weekend's other fixtures are taken into account.

Elsewhere, Arsenal host third-placed Southampton and Manchester City, eighth, taken on seventh-placed Spurs.

Martinez said: "This could be a very significant game. There are other clashes between teams in the top seven and that makes it a very interesting weekend."

Belfast Telegraph

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