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Goodison Park | 23rd November 2013 12:45 | Attendance - 39576

Everton v Liverpool

Team News

Relieved Roberto Martinez says he has received no reports of injuries suffered by Everton's international contingent ahead of Saturday's crunch Merseyside derby.

The Blues boss also said Antolin Alcaraz and Tony Hibbert are both now fully fit to resume first-team duties.

Martinez's squad will reassemble at Finch Farm later on Wednesday but the manager had only positive news when speaking to the media at 9am.

He said: "We are still waiting for everyone to get back, but all the reports are very positive. No-one has picked up any knocks or bruises so I expect to have everyone fully fit who has been away on international duty.

"Antolin Alcaraz and Tony Hibbert have been working with the team and they are available for selection, even though they are working on match fitness.

"It's probably too early for (them to start) on Saturday - and then we only have Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone out."

Antolin AlcarazAntolin Alcaraz is ready for a long-awaited first-team debut.

Alcaraz's impending return would signal the end of a hugely frustrating start to his Everton career.

"Antolin is fully fit now and has been working really well in the past week," explained Martinez.

"He's one week ahead of where I expected him to be. I would say now he is ready to play a part in a game, there is no problem with that. It's just building the stamina and the match fitness that you need.

"It's picking the right moment for him to come back - an intense derby would probably be the wrong moment to put him back in. But I consider him and Tony Hibbert fully fit and ready to help the team."

Form

Liverpool head into Saturday's derby on the back of a 4-0 win over Fulham which took them up to second in the Barclays Premier League table.

Just three points and four positions ahead of Everton, the 221st meeting of the two sides allows the Toffees to move level with their rivals and boost their bid to finish higher in the standings for a third successive season.

Liverpool's recent defeat to Arsenal was one of only two in the league this season.Liverpool's recent defeat to Arsenal was one of only two in the league this season.

Prior to their victory over the Cottagers, our nearby neighbours lost 2-0 away at Arsenal - their second league defeat of the campaign following September's 1-0 reverse at home against Southampton.

Everton, meanwhile, will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to five games but improve on two successive goalless draws.

In their last four outings, Roberto Martinez's men have beaten Hull and Aston Villa but been held by Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

Last Meeting

Sylvain Distin had a 'goal' controversially ruled out at Anfield in May as the 220th Merseyside derby ended in a stalemate.

The Frenchman saw his header disallowed after now-West Brom striker Victor Anichebe was adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Pepe Reina in the build-up.

Earlier in the campaign, the spoils had also been shared at Goodison - but only after Everton had fought back from 2-0 down thanks to goals from Leon Osman and Steven Naismith.

Leon OsmanLeon Osman celebrates his goal in last season's 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.

A Leighton Baines own goal and another effort from Luis Suarez had put the visitors two in front inside 20 minutes in October.

But Everton got themselves back into the contest ahead of half-time, with winger Kevin Mirallas turning in a particularly impressive outing before cruelly being forced to limp out of the action at the interval.

What's Happening At Goodison

Make your derby day more memorable by taking full advantage of an action-packed Fan Zone before and after Roberto Martinez’s first Merseyside derby.

The Fan Zone will be open from 10.45am on Saturday, with plenty on offer for Evertonians of all ages.

To celebrate the 221st Merseyside derby, 11 limited edition pin badges will be given away – each adorned with a famous former Blue who made themselves derby day heroes.

Fan ZoneThere will be music and prize giveaways in the Goodison Park Fan Zone.

Blue noses will also be handed out so you can show your true colours inside Goodison Park and really get behind Roberto’s men in their quest for the city’s bragging rights.

There will also be live music from two exciting local bands, a guest appearance from Blues hero Ian Snodin and an Everton photo booth.

For a full run down of Saturday's planned activities, click here.

 

 

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