Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp turned up the pressure on Everton ahead of the 226th Merseyside derby by questioning whether they can handle the demands of success at the end of a season.
The Toffees head to Anfield, where they have not won since 1999, with one eye on Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United at Wembley.
This fixture was moved from its original weekend because of Liverpool’s involvement in the Capital One Cup final but, with FA Cup replays and a run to the Europa League last four, Klopp’s side have been playing twice a week almost all season.
Everton’s progress in the FA Cup has also seen them require a midweek fixture at Crystal Palace last week, and with a crucial weekend semi-final for Roberto Martinez coming up, Klopp says he is unsure how they will handle this game.
“I know all about Everton and have met a lot of people and it’s a big and very successful club in the past, but I don’t know exactly what the situation is exactly there with the semi-final coming up,” he said.
“They are not used to, at the end of the season, playing two games a week too often.
“Last week they had this situation, this week they have this situation, at the end of these two weeks it is a pretty important game for them.
“But I don’t know too much about them so we should think only about our game, our line-up and understand our situation in the table.”
Klopp has warned his players to keep a lid on their emotions, however.
“It is not like the last thing I will say is ‘kick them out of the stadium’. Of course not. It is about football,” he added.