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Martinez: This is our Merseyside derby

Despite what the previews say

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has called on his players to makes sure Saturday's derby is "ours" amid the hype surrounding Steven Gerrard.

The pre-match previews have been dominated by the Liverpool captain, who will be playing in his final Merseyside derby (bar a possible meeting in the Europa League) at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.

Gerrard was also frequently mentioned in Martinez's pre-match press conference, with the Spaniard keen to redress the balance.

Martinez has called on his players to seize the initiative and ensure the 224th meeting between these two great rivals will be remembered fondly by the blues not the reds.

"We want to make it our derby – we are playing at Goodison and can’t wait to perform well.

"The last derby we had at Goodison, on top of what the game means and the rivalry in the city, was a great game with plenty of goals between two teams with a really attacking mindset.  I do expect the same – two teams who are going into the game with very good moments of form.

"They [Liverpool] are really enjoying a way of playing and are enjoying a good run, while we feel in a similar situation in terms of the confidence from the win that we had at the weekend."

When asked about Gerrard directly, Martinez replied:

"The Merseyside derby, when we play at Goodison, we want it to be our Merseyside derby and that’s the only thing we are looking at.

"We, as a football club, have been in a period when we haven’t been enjoying the results that we wanted, so we will look forward to it being our Merseyside derby."