Gylfi Sigurdsson says Everton have extra motivation to dent Liverpool’s title challenge after their painful derby defeat at Anfield in December.
Everton welcome Liverpool to Goodison Park on Sunday with the extraordinary ending to the season’s first derby game still fresh in the minds of those on the blue half of Merseyside.
Liverpool substitute Divock Origi scored a bizarre winner in the sixth minute of added time when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford mishandled a sliced Virgil Van Dijk shot that had ballooned high up into the air.
It seemed set to land on top of his net, but Pickford pulled the ball back down from above his crossbar and spilled it out to Origi.
Everton’s misery was compounded by the sight of Jurgen Klopp racing on to the pitch to hug goalkeeper Alisson Becker, an action which saw the Liverpool manager charged with misconduct by the Football Association and fined £8,000.
“Of course, yes,” Sigurdsson replied when asked if Everton would love to check the title hopes of their city rivals.
“But it doesn’t matter where they are in the league.
“You always want to win these games, especially after the disappointing ending to the game the last time we played them.
“To lose a derby game like that, being so close to a good point away from home, was very disappointing.
“These are the games you are looking forward to before the season starts.”
Sigurdsson was the star of the show on Tuesday night as Everton returned to winning ways with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Cardiff.
Everton manager Marco Silva had come under increasing scrutiny on the back of three successive defeats, and five losses in six games in all competitions, but Sigurdsson’s scoring instincts released the pressure on the Portuguese.
The 29-year-old also became the highest-scoring Icelandic player in Premier League history, his brace at Cardiff taking him to 57 goals and two more than former Bolton and Chelsea favourite Eidur Gudjohnsen.
“I knew about it, I’d been waiting to get that,” Sigurdsson said after taking his league goals tally for the season to 11.
“I’m very proud. When I was growing up he (Gudjohnsen) was the one I was watching.
“I wanted to be like him and play in the Premier League. Hopefully he’ll give me a text. It’s fantastic to have finally gone over him.”
Relegation-threatened Cardiff have had a sobering week with home defeats against Watford and Everton and eight goals conceded.
Cardiff were again without their influential Spanish playmaker Victor Camarasa, although manager Neil Warnock expects the Real Betis loanee to be available for the trip to Wolves on Saturday.
Warnock complained on Monday that Camarasa was “fit 10 days ago” after a calf problem, but he said the 24-year-old had declared himself unavailable after liaising with his own personal medical team.
“He’ll be alright on Saturday because his advisors say he’s fit for Saturday,” Warnock said.
Asked if Camarasa was committed to the Cardiff cause, Warnock added: “Yes, when he plays. You can’t fault him.
“I think he’s an excellent player, he gives us a little bit more class than we’ve got usually.
“He doesn’t shirk and is one of those you want alongside you really. I just hope he doesn’t wear his gloves on Saturday – I’m not sure about that!”