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Brendan Rodgers has dig at Everton ahead of Liverpool match

Martinez and Rodgers exchange verbal blows ahead of Merseyside derby

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers doesn't have much to be smug about at the moment but he was surprisingly chirpy in his press conference ahead of Sunday's Merseyside derby.

The Liverpool boss is under pressure after a succession of below-par performances, most recently a 1-1 draw against Sion in the Europa League on Thursday.

Some pundits are predicting their struggles will continue on Sunday, something Roberto Martinez was quick to play down in his pre-match press conference.

The Spaniard believes Liverpool will always be favourites going into the game despite their recent patch form because of the £300m the Anfield club has spent on new players over the past three seasons.y

"The way we have started and the way we have played we are showing some form. That could see us as favourites.

"If you look at the amount of money Liverpool have spent in the last three seasons they need to be favourites and carry the expectation.

"I think the pressure is the nature of the game in the league now. It is normal if you are not winning games.

"From our point of view, it is about how good we can be. How well we can start the game and how well we can use home advantage.

"We respect the opposition and a team with huge investment behind it."

Rodgers was quick to bat away any attempt by Martinez to heap pressure on his shoulders, coming back with a witty riposte of his own.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's trip to Goodison and in direct response to Martinez's earlier quotes, Rodgers said:

"There is no advantage or disadvantage if you are favourites. It just shows you’re a big club and that’s what we want to have here.

"There is no more or less pressure. It’s pressure we put on ourselves from within.

"That shows the club we are at and the level of expectancy here as opposed to another club. We are happy to live with that. We are at a club expected to do well.

"We will always take the favourite tag. At Liverpool that is what you want. For us we are happy to take the favourite tag if people want to put that on us because we are Liverpool.

Everton have done well. They are a point ahead and they have had a good start and we’ve had a ‘disaster’"

This so-called 'war of words' will only stir up the respective fanbases ahead of Sunday's eagerly anticipated game