Frank Lampard says Everton are ‘outsiders’ ahead of Sunday’s 240th Merseyside derby against Liverpool, but the Toffees boss expects nothing less than ‘passion, fight and desire’ from his side as they fight to avoid falling.
Relegation-threatened Everton sit 17th in the Premier League table on 29 points, one game less against 18th-placed Burnley, who have 28 points from 32 games.
Liverpool, meanwhile, remain one point behind leaders Manchester City at the top of the table and chase an unprecedented four-fold.
The Toffees won 2-0 at Anfield last season and, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game, live on sky sportsLampard discussed what it would take to repeat that victory and increase his side’s chances of survival.
“It’s a huge game. I watched it from afar many times. I’m very happy to be involved,” he said.
“You can’t always control the outcome. This game brings a different energy. I expect passion, fight and desire. There’s no game plan in the world that will work without it.
“We are facing the strongest, in-form team in the league. You have to use that as a positive. We have to fight until the last minute no matter what. is clear. But we have to fight!”
Everton could be overtaken by Burnley, who have taken four points from their last two games, if they draw with Wolves on Sunday before the Toffees take on their Merseyside rivals in the final match.
Lampard added: “We cannot gauge our mindset on other results. They will happen, you have to expect other teams to win games.
“I am realistic. You understand the position we are in, in the league.
“I played against Liverpool, managed against Liverpool – it’s always intimidating because you respect the level of player and manager that they have.
“It’s always a test no matter what, so I know that well. It’s a slightly different type of test, which is why we’re in this game.”
Lampard has confirmed Everton midfielders Donny van de Beek and Andre Gomes will miss the 240th Merseyside Derby.
Both players were unused substitutes in the midweek draw at home to Leicester, but Van de Beek has a groin problem while Gomes also has a minor problem.
Everton are still without Dominic Calvert-Lewin with a thigh injury.
Klopp: I will miss the derby if Everton fall
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he would miss the Merseyside derby if Everton were relegated from the Premier League.
As Everton are mired in a battle to avoid the fall, their near neighbors are in contention for three more titles having already lifted the Carabao Cup.
When asked if he would miss the game, Klopp replied: “Of course. I think we are all used to having two clubs in the city playing in the Premier League.
“It’s a bit different this week because we played Manchester United the other night, but usually the whole week before we face Everton there’s just derby talk.”
Remembering a great Everton escape they won’t want to repeat
In 1998, last-day drama saw Everton finally avoid relegation from the Premier League. Sky Sports’ Alan Myers relives his close-up experience of that high-pressure match…
“As Everton prepare to take on Liverpool in the 240th Merseyside league derby, the threat of relegation remains a major concern. With seven games remaining to ensure they avoid that terrible fate, my mind has wandered. 24 years back for a day of tension, panic and pure consternation.
“It was May 10, 1998, Goodison Park as Everton met Coventry City knowing that if they didn’t improve on Bolton Wanderers’ result at Chelsea they would lose their 44-year-old top flight status. It was a desperate time for Evertonians and as club press officer at the time, I was at the heart of the drama that was unfolding.
“It’s a day I will never forget. Arriving on the pitch there was a tangible sense of dread, which was not helped when I was summoned to speak with the then President , Peter Johnson, and I had to be checked by the police before entering the boardroom, as he had received various threats in the days leading up to the game from disgruntled fans.
“He wanted to talk about my plan for the post-match arrangements, whether it was good news or bad news, how we were going to deal with the situation. What followed still leaves me cold to this day, my idea was that the oing to face the media after the game, regardless of the outcome, was just too risky.
“In those days, communication with fans was via the press box or ClubCall, although expecting fans to pay 50p a minute for this sort of announcement seemed ambitious at best. My idea was to record two versions of his post-match statement, one if we were to stay up and one if the worst should happen.
“I can still hear, with great clarity, his voice cracking as he spoke the words: ‘The relegation of this great club is a terrible tragedy’. It was then that the reality and the enormity of the situation hit me it was real As he walked out he said “Alan if you put on the wrong one you know you’re fired right?” I assured him that if that happened he wouldn’t have to tell me!”
Everton’s remaining fixtures
April 24 – Liverpool (one), live on Sky Sports
May 1 – Chelsea (h), live on Sky Sports
May 7 – Leicester (a)
May 10 – Watford (a)
May 15 – Brentford (h)
May 19 – Crystal Palace (h)
May 22 – Armory (one)
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