Everton manager Marco Silva has told his players to ignore history and focus on building for the future when they make the short trip to face Liverpool on Sunday.
The Toffees have not won at Anfield since 1999, but Silva is not interested in dwelling on statistics he cannot change but rather on building a team who can compete against their local rivals in the future.
“It’s a fact, but I can say to (the players) that always these type of records, they exist to break,” he said when reminded of Everton’s results against their neighbours.
“For us the most important thing is the present, and is the future. Past is past, we can do nothing to change the past but we can work well in our present to make well the future.”
Silva said Sunday’s clash would be a ‘special match’ but cautioned against over-hyping the occasion.
“I don’t want our players to think, ‘This is the match’,” he said. “It’s not the last match of the season.
“I want them to play the match to win. For sure, it will be a really tough, tough match, we are playing against a strong side, quality, (Jurgen) Klopp is doing a very good job.
“But it is one more match. I want them to have a big motivation. The three results can happen in the match but nothing will change in our way.
“We are here to build something, to prepare our club and players to compete in every match, every time against these sides and not just on one day where you can have one good day.
“We want to play against them week by week and be competitive.”
There have certainly been plenty of positive signs Silva is on the right track of late, and it is easy to see why he is eager to ensure derby hype does nothing to derail their recent momentum.
Everton have lost just one of their last seven Premier League matches, and last week’s victory over Cardiff lifted them up to sixth place in the table.
They are still some 11 points adrift of their second-placed neighbours, but Silva knows that catching them will be a long-term project.
“What I want to see in our team is for us to be ourselves, nothing different to what we did in the big games we already played until now,” he said. “I’m sure this is what our fans what to see, for us to be ourselves, to fight to achieve a result.
“I feel it’s a special game for them as well but our fans want us to be the same team, playing to win the match, to be strong, to enjoy the moment and have the ambition to win.”