Rodgers: Derby will be intense

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists the derby with Everton will be a typically intense affair despite both teams' preference for possession-based football.

Last Updated: 23/11/13 at 12:18 Post Comment

Brendan Rodgers: Has a similar footballing philosophy to Roberto Martinez

Brendan Rodgers: Has a similar footballing philosophy to Roberto Martinez

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The Merseyside rivals go head-to-head for the 221st time on Saturday lunchtime and the Reds will go top of the Premier League if they win.

Last season's meeting between the sides led to bitter complaints from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard about Everton's playing style.

After the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, Gerrard - frustrated after Luis Suarez had a last-minute winner ruled out - labelled the Toffees a "long-ball team similar to Stoke".

The match statistics did not back up that assessment and he retracted it a couple of days later.

The possession stats are likely to be closely scrutinised again at the weekend with Rodgers and opposite number Roberto Martinez sharing a similar tactical philosophy.

But the Liverpool boss feels the match will retain its trademark passion.

"It is going to be a fiercely competitive game," he said. "It doesn't take the intensity out by having the football. The idea of having possession is to penetrate and have aggression in your game.

"A lot of our game is based on that aggressive nature. It won't take anything out of the game, it will only add to it.

"Our game is based upon the intensity of our pressure, to get the ball back as quickly as we can and look to have superiority with numbers around the ball."

Rodgers believes the nature of his team's 4-0 win over Fulham prior to the international break illustrates the fluid style he is hoping to implement at Anfield.

And he is aware Martinez shares similar beliefs about the way the game should be played.

"When you analyse our last performance against Fulham and assess it over and above the result we were just short of 700 passes in the game, which for me is a sign of the fluidity and the fluency of the team as much as anything," he said.

"Our rhythm in the game was good. We had nearly 70 per cent of the ball but with that we had 30 shots at goal and we scored four goals and could have had more.

"It just typified the confidence of the players and their belief.

"We are averaging two goals a game and whatever ground we go to we always feel we can score.

"We (he and Martinez) have the inherent belief of dominating the ball, controlling the game with the football rather than without and looking to play attractive, attacking football."

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