- Everton – Liverpool, Saturday 13.30 on TV 2 Sport Premium. Follow Dagbladet’s football broadcast on Saturday from 20.00
John Arne Riise (40) became an immediate Liverpool favorite when he scored in his Merseyside debut after a wonderful solo raid in the match which Liverpool eventually won 3-1.
Since that day in August 2001, Liverpool have met arch-rival Everton 42 times.
Liverpool have emerged victorious from those settlements 22 times – Everton have “only” won four.
But now is a new time. Everton have had a crazy start to the season, while Liverpool went on a disgusting 7-2 loss away to Aston Villa last.
The 40-year-old, with the most internationals for Norway, believes that Saturday’s Merseyside derby will be the smoothest in a long time.
– Everton has had an absolutely fantastic start. It looks extremely good. Considering how good they are now, it will perhaps be one of the toughest and most difficult matches against Everton in many years, Riise tells Dagbladet.
Everton have not yet conceded one point and are at the top of the table in the Premier League after four games. Riise thinks it’s cool for the Liverpool derby that Everton are doing so well during the day. He believes that Everton’s Italian coach (Carlo Ancelotti) should have a lot of credit for the success.
– It shows what a fantastic manager Ancelotti is. How he has come in and then suddenly it sits. Just look at players he has brought in. It will be exciting to see if they manage to keep it going, the 40-year-old tells Dagbladet.
– I am shocked
It came as a huge shock to many when Liverpool were crushed 7-2 by Aston Villa before the national team break. Riise was in the car during the match and found out about the fade when huge amounts of messages ticked in on his mobile.
– When I found out about it, my wife had to drive so that I could follow the match. It ended up that I did not see anymore, because I did not want to see the rest, says Flint Tønsberg coach.
Riise believes that the match was a stimulant for his former employer.
– Liverpool were very bad at what they are normally good at, and Aston Villa played a great game. It was a wake-up call to the players that the Premier League is not easy. I think we will see a response next week, says Riise.
– Have you ever seen a Liverpool defense play so weak during a match?
– No, I do not think so. This is the first time I have seen this team so messy. I think this was a match Liverpool needed.
Riise believes that the players must learn from the match and sharpen up if there is to be a new league gold.
“I am shocked if the players themselves do not realize that they have to perform much better if they are to win the league this year,” says the Liverpool legend.
– Something special
Throughout a long career, Riise has played countless matches in several countries. For Liverpool he has well over 300 games and on Norway’s national team he is the only one who has rounded 100 games.
Riise has fond memories of the Merseyside derbies and believes the matches against Everton are something very special.
– It was very cool to score in the debut (against Everton). The coolest thing is the build-up in the weeks before the match. Knowing in the city that it is approaching. It is something special to be a part of. You have friends living in the city who are Everton fans. My best friend in Liverpool was an Everton fan. You notice it on everything around you that it is approaching, says the former national team player.
Despite Everton’s good form, Riise believes the old club will pull the longest straw on Saturday.
– I have the feeling that Liverpool will strike back. I bet 2-0 to Liverpool.