Dominic Calvert-Lewin insists there is a conviction within Everton’s camp that they can prevail in the Merseyside derby despite their recent dismal record in the fixture.
Everton have not beaten Liverpool in the last 18 attempts in all competitions – a sequence that stretches back to October 2010, when goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta gave the Toffees a 2-0 victory.
While their bitter rivals are in a full-blooded battle for the Premier League title with Manchester City, Everton, by contrast, seem destined for yet another mid-table finish despite a significant outlay on new players last summer.
They have not won back-to-back league games since October but Calvert-Lewin, who concluded the scoring as Everton swept aside struggling Cardiff 3-0 in midweek, remains optimistic ahead of Sunday’s clash at Goodison Park.
The 21-year-old striker, who is yet to open his account against Liverpool in six previous appearances against them, said on Everton’s official website: “Everyone knows what type of occasion it is and I’m excited for it.
“Everybody wants to play in that game and I’m no different.
“The main focus is to win and that is how we have been preparing. We’ve got the belief.
“The Cardiff game was about making sure we got an important three points, and also building momentum going into Sunday’s match. We did that, and we’ll take confidence from it.”
Calvert-Lewin linked up effectively with club record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday.
The Iceland playmaker scored in either half before Calvert-Lewin completed a comprehensive win in added-on time.
And Calvert-Lewin hopes their understanding will continue to grow stronger in the next few weeks.
He added: “I think it’s just about playing together more, so we can get on that same wavelength – when Gylfi gets turned it’s about him knowing where I am and me knowing where he is.
“You know what he can do in and around the box, too, as he showed with his two goals. It’s about building momentum and building on the partnerships in the team.”
The win over the Bluebirds ended a three-match losing run for Everton and Sigurdsson admitted their patchy form in the last few months has proved a source of concern.
Marco Silva’s men are currently 17 points off the top six, which is not a scenario Sigurdsson envisaged at the start of the season although he is hopeful of an upturn in fortunes.
He said: “It’s been very frustrating but, through it all, the whole squad and the staff have been working very well, working hard.
“With the ability we have, with the manager and everything, we are disappointed with where we are at the moment.
“But if you put some results together you do climb the league so quickly. So that is what we are looking at – we are trying to look up the table and be positive about the situation and finish the season strongly.
“On Sunday, we have to put in a good performance, work hard and hopefully take care of the chances we get.”