Pienaar: Rom Will Be Key
Midfielder backing Lukaku to unlock Liverpool's defence.
Romelu Lukaku is being tipped to have a major derby impact this weekend – by teammate Steven Pienaar.
The 31-year-old South African believes supplying the on-loan striker with the right service could tip the contest in Everton’s favour.
Lukaku has been a resounding hit at Goodison since switching from Chelsea on transfer deadline day.
And Pienaar said: “On his day he can be unbelievable. We’re going to need his strength and power up there on Saturday.
“But he is also going to need us to supply him and help him out.
“We are all pleased that he has come out of the blocks firing and hopefully he can continue doing that for us.
“When you don’t play a lot at your previous club, I think a lot of pressure falls on you and you just want to enjoy your game and I think he’s been doing that.”
Pienaar has also expressed his excitement at the prospect of playing in the 221st meeting between the two sides - knowing a win could take Everton up to third place in the Barclays Premier League table.
He said: “My first derby was quite a while ago now but I still remember the atmosphere and the build-up the week before the game, the people on the streets all talking about it and they were excited.
“Then when I walked out on the pitch, the atmosphere was just unbelievable. It was something where I felt like I was playing in a cup final.
“Hopefully the manager and some of the new players will experience a similar atmosphere and hopefully we’ll go away with all three points, which would be something special for the manager with it being his first derby.”
The Blues have managed six clean sheets so far this season and the midfielder believes shutting out an in-form Liverpool attack will be crucial to getting a positive result.
“They’ve been playing attractive football and playing really well - they’re not second for nothing,” he stated. “It’s going to be an exciting game because both teams want to do well this season.
“[Luis] Suarez and [Daniel] Sturridge have formed a really good partnership but they have goals from midfield as well. But we’re not going to be focusing on one player – there are 11 players on the pitch, so we have to make sure that we stick to our task and give everything we can.
“They have some players that we have to look out for but, on the other hand, they’re also going to have to look out for some of our players.
“We want to keep that run [unbeaten at home in the league in 2013] going and winning games at home is very important come the end of the season.”
Tickets for Saturday's derby have long sold out but it's not too late to secure your seat for the visit of Stoke City on Saturday 30 November (3pm).
To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878.
Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.