Ronald Koeman recognises significance of the Merseyside Derby

Ronald Koeman recognises significance of the Merseyside Derby

Koeman's pre-match comments ahead of his inaugural derby clash with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool.

Conor Shaw

Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison Park in the 227th Merseyside Derby on Monday night - with Blues manager Ronald Koeman more than aware of its importance to supporters.

The 53-year old is not best pleased with Everton's recent record with their Merseyside neighbours, and highlighted that "it's time to beat them" with 1 win in 19 being quite simply, “not good enough.

Koeman used to intense derbys

Koeman is no push over when it comes to derby fixtures. During his playing days, the Everton manager faced Real Madrid when he represented Barcelona – and had a taste of the Ajax and Feyenoord clash whilst playing for both clubs.

As a manager, Koeman has also taken charge of Ajax and Feyenoord in top of the table clashes between the Dutch sides. With this experience, the Dutchman highlighted the games between Everton and Liverpool as "always being about the derby mentality and the passion of the fans."

Nonetheless Koeman more than understands that a determined victory "is important to make the fans proud of the team." Everton need no further motivation - and the Blues manager upheld that it is "really nice to be part of this derby.”

Injuries are hopefully behind Everton now

The Blues will go into Monday’s derby with no fresh injury concerns – and will just be without Phil Jagielka, who picked up a red card against Arsenal on Tuesday evening.

Koeman accepted that Yannick Bolasie will be facing “a long, long time” out of contention for the Blues. Providing an update on his recovery, Koeman confirmed Bolasie underwent surgery on his knee, but will need another operation on his cruciate knee ligament in nine or ten weeks.

Goodison Park's atmosphere could be crucial for the Blue side to acheive a positive result

It is fair to say, the atmosphere during Tuesday's win over Arsenal was electric. Goodison played a huge part in spurring Koeman's side on to victory - and encourged the players throughout what was a brilliant encounter.

The Dutchman held high praise for the Goodison faithful from Tuesday’s victory, with the support making it “difficult for teams to win.”

"You saw the Arsenal game," he said. "We made it difficult for them. It's the same for every opponent."

Koeman and the entire Everton side know how the crowd can play their part during the game - and can only use that as a further incentive to claim the Blues first league derby victory in six years.