Belfast Telegraph

Sam Allardyce wants Everton to rise to the occasion in Merseyside derby

Sam Allardyce is not shying away from Everton's miserable recent history in the Merseyside derby.

At the end of his first full week in charge, the Toffees' new boss will try to engineer the first Everton victory at Anfield since 1999 and the first derby win of any kind in seven years.

Neither Ronald Koeman nor Roberto Martinez won a derby and this is the 15th clash since David Moyes led Everton to a 2-0 win at Goodison Park in October 2010.

Allardyce knows he has his work cut out given the form of Jurgen Klopp's exciting squad, who have scored 15 goals in their last three games.

"The whole occasion is a great test for the players we have," said Allardyce. "They need to rise to the occasion, it's a one off, and, however good Liverpool are playing at the moment, it is a derby match, anything can happen.

"All I can ask the players to do is give their best, play their best game. It still might not be good enough to do anything against Liverpool because of the form they're in.

"They've just gone and done five at Brighton and a seven in the Champions League. You say Spartak Moscow are not that good, they're a lot better than you think it's just that Liverpool were very good on the night and made them look very poor."

Former Liverpool defender and boyhood Everton fan Jamie Carragher suggested the Toffees would build a statue of Allardyce if they take three points on Sunday, such is the importance of the match to the blue half of the city.

"Sunderland fans said they were going to build a statue when we beat Newcastle but that's not quite happened yet," said Allardyce with a smile.

"It's such an important game for everybody, particularly the Evertonians, so I've got to try and make sure the players give their best on the day. Why would you not want to wake up on Sunday morning and look forward to this game?"

Allardyce did not travel to Cyprus for Everton's Europa League dead rubber against Apollon Limassol on Thursday and sent a second-string side.

He stayed back at Finch Farm with the majority of the first-team squad as manager and players continued to get to know each other.

The 63-year-old said: "We've just been installing some of the basics we believe in in terms of team play, how we affect each other's game as a team, how we live and die by our teamwork. Information has to come in small doses if you want to retain it so one thing at a time.

"I'm really pleased at the response of the players and their attitude and we hope we bring a freshness, one or two things they may perhaps not have seen before, which may interest them and help them.

"I want to see smiles and laughing - at the right times, of course - but it's really about the mood of the camp. As a manager of many years now, you can feel if you're going in the right direction and I feel, because results have gone well, it's been a massive boost for me and the rest of the staff to settle in quicker than we expected."

Defender Phil Jagielka is available again after injury while James McCarthy and Yannick Bolasie are moving closer to long-awaited returns.

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