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Everton’s Ronald Koeman looks to punish Liverpool’s defensive frailties

Everton manager Ronald Koeman and Aaron Lennon

Ronald Koeman has told Everton it is time to improve their dismal derby record against Liverpool and draw encouragement from their rivals’ defensive problems.

Related: Everton v Liverpool: match preview

Everton host the 227th Merseyside derby on Monday, having won only one of the last 19 league encounters and none of the last 12 meetings in all competitions. Koeman upset some Evertonians recently by describing Liverpool as potential title-winners this season but, before his first Merseyside derby, he claimed Jürgen Klopp’s team are vulnerable.

The Everton manager said: “The record is not good. One out of 19 – it’s time to beat them. Of course every time you don’t win, the one you will win comes closer. You need to accept how difficult it is to win the game but you need to make the fans happy.

“Liverpool are strong but they lost their way at Bournemouth and drew against West Ham. It is not so difficult because, if Bournemouth can win against them, we have possibilities to win, too. We need to press. I’m not sure but I think Liverpool have conceded more goals than anyone ahead of us. Not so good.” Liverpool and Everton have conceded the same number of goals in the Premier League this season: – 20.

Koeman has vast derby experience from his playing days in the Netherlands and Spain as well as his varied managerial career. “My favourite was between Barcelona and Real Madrid because the rivalry between Catalonia and Madrid meant it wasn’t only about the football side but the political side,” he said. Koeman won six of his 12 league games against Real as a Barcelona player and wants to balance out Everton’s derby record, too.

He added: “I have a lot of good memories of the Clásico. In my first Clásico I scored two goals, two penalties. I needed to repeat one of the penalties, so really I scored three penalties. That was really fantastic because we won the game 3-1 and another time we won 5-0 at home to Madrid. I scored a great free-kick in that game, so that is a nice memory. I know I won more than one out of 19 Clásicos and we need to change that record.”

Koeman confirmed Everton will open talks over a new contract for Ross Barkley in the new year and insisted no club is “knocking on the door” for his players.

Everton secured new deals on Friday for the veteran midfielder Gareth Barry, the defender Leighton Baines and the promising youngster Mason Holgate. Barry and Baines would have been out of contract at the end of this season – the reported four-year deal Baines signed in 2014 included a conditional final 12 months – while Barkley is under contract until 2018.

Negotiations have not yet commenced on an extension for Barkley, with the England international enduring a difficult season under Koeman. That has created speculation over the midfielder’s long-term future with his boyhood club. Tottenham Hotspur were linked with a bid this week but the Everton manager insisted the situation will be addressed after the hectic festive period.

Koeman said: “We know he has about 18 months left. That’s not the priority now. In the new year we will have talks about his situation and his future but the priority now is playing and winning and see what happens in January. I’m not interested in what is said about the future of players. There is no one knocking on the door now about players from Everton.”

Koeman confirmed Yannick Bolasie has had surgery on a damaged meniscus but must wait eight to 10 weeks for an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament. The winger could be sidelined for a year, with the knee injury sustained against Manchester United earlier this month.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Andy Hunter, for The Guardian on Friday 16th December 2016 22.30 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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