It’s been a week of speculation on Merseyside with Everton in prime position to help or hurt Liverpool’s title challenge when they host Manchester City on Saturday.
City are three points behind Liverpool with a game in hand, but crucially hold a superior goal difference. That means if Everton get a result against City, Liverpool will have regained the edge in the title race. If Everton fail, City will control their own destiny.
It’s a situation that has prompted some to speculate whether Everton would lie down against Manuel Pellegrini’s side, so as to hurt their rivals title chances. That notion was discarded by Roberto Martinez on Thursday, noting that the Toffees won’t be doing Liverpool a disservice or City a favor. Everton play every match to win, the manager noted, especially given the outside chance of nabbing fourth place from Arsenal.
On Friday, Brendan Rodgers weighed into the discussion.
“I’ve read some bits and pieces on Everton not wanting to do Liverpool a favor. Everton, in their own right, are a great club. They’ve done really well this year, particularly at home, and they’re fighting for a Champions League position.
“They’ve got outstanding players and will be looking to get a result. We will do what we’ve always done, and concentrate on the next game. If we win our next two games, we’ll see where it takes us. Everton have their own reasons to do the job.”
So in sum, both sides will play hard and worry about themselves. But despite Rodgers’ claim that “[Everton] won’t need many more supporters than those they have” the circumstances dictate that Liverpool fans, at least for a day, have no option but to shed their red skin and join the bluenoses in the fight against City.