Philippe Coutinho hasn’t quite returned to top form in the manner many hoped he would following his return from injury yet the Merseyside derby could be the game to help spark him into life.
The Brazilian was arguably the best player in the Premier League during the first few months of the season but has faltered somewhat since suffering an ankle problem that saw him miss the first few weeks of 2017.
Liverpool will welcome Everton to Anfield on Saturday looking to secure the league double over their city rivals as well as extending the gap between the two sides to nine points with a win.
Despite Everton’s recent rise to form, Coutinho is only focused on his team’s preparations.
“Right now, Liverpool is higher in the league, that’s the reality and that’s all we have to think about. We will be ready. The derby is a very special match for everyone, the fans and the players,” he told the Mirror.
“We know what it means. The people of Liverpool live this match with so much emotion and this time it is even more because Everton have improved so much in recent weeks.”
“I just concentrate on my own club. Liverpool is my only focus and my only interest. I don’t even think about any of our rivals – including Everton. All I want to do is to help this club get into the Champions League and finish as high in the table as we can.”
Both teams need a win and both have realistic and valuable aims to fight for until the end of the season, setting up an exciting derby.
Home advantage is a significant boost for those Reds returning from international duty and for the sake of the fans being able to drive the players on.
Not only do we want three points, but we want to see a strong performance from Coutinho. He’s due one.