Merseyside derby: Ronald Koeman says Everton have no reason to be afraid of Liverpool

Rhodri Cannon
Ronald Koeman

Everton manager Ronald Koeman does not understand why his side are traditionally afraid of playing Liverpool at Anfield and is looking for a change in the Toffees' mentality ahead of the Merseyside derby on Saturday (1 April).

The Blues have not left Anfield with three points this millennium and have suffered two chastening 4-0 defeats in their last three visits to Liverpool's ground. Koeman is dumbfounded as to why the Toffees are seemingly scared of their close neighbours and has called on his players to "control their emotions" in what will undoubtedly be a rather impassioned atmosphere.

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"It's a new season, it's a new game, a new manager," the Everton boss said in his press conference. "I don't know why, I heard a little bit about the last two seasons that Everton were afraid to play Liverpool. Why do you need to be afraid against Liverpool? I don't understand that. You have several aspects [to contend with] in matches like the derby, I think we showed when we played them at home how we need to play.

"You need to control your emotions. Finally the players by themselves need to control and focus themselves on the gameplan and not make stupid fouls. Control your reaction. That's up to the players."

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Elsewhere, Everton's plans for a new £300m stadium on the banks of the Mersey have been approved by Liverpool City Council, who have agreed to act as the club's guarantor for the loans needed to build the arena on the Bramley Moore dock.

The news is another step forward for the Blues as they bid to leave Goodison Park for a new stadium on the waterfront of the city, and Koeman believes a new ground is very important for the future of the club.

"I think every Everton fan is really excited by the next step of building the new stadium," Koeman added. "It's a long project and we will see how it goes, but it's really important. That's a long-term story for the club, but as a manager you need to focus game-by-game, the priority is today, tomorrow."

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