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Funes Mori: I'm ready for the Merseyside derby

Defender will draw on experience of 'superclasico' if selected at Goodison on Sunday

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

When compiling a list of the world's most fearsome football derbies, it is likely that River Plate against Boca Juniors will be near the top of the list.

El 'superclasico', between two of Buenos Aires'  and indeed Argentina's biggest clubs, rivals anything we see in Europe, with the two sets of supporters creating a colourful and boisterous backdrop to matches played at Boca's famous La Bonbonera stadium or River's El Monumental.

The rivalry is so fierce things have been known to get out of hand, most recently in May when Boca fans forced a Copa Libertadores tie to be abandoned when several River players were sprayed with an irritant as they came out of the tunnel for the second half.

Four River players were hospitalised, one of whom was Ramiro Funes Mori, Everton's new £9million summer signing. Boca were later thrown out of the competition, fined and their supporters banned from attending the club's next eight matches.

Thankfully Mori also has fonder memories of encounters with Boca, most notably in March 2014 when he headed the winner to secure River's first win away their their fierce rivals for a decade.

That experience will stand him in good stead for Sunday's meeting with Liverpool. We are unlikely to see a repeat of the violent scenes witnessed in Buenos Aires at Goodison Park on Sunday lunchtime, but that doesn't mean it will be a damp squib either.

The 'friendly derby' tag often associated with these Merseyside encounters only tends to apply before and after the game, but for 90 minutes it will be as fierce as any derby in world football.

Mori made his first start for the club at West Brom on Monday but knows he may have to be content with a place on the bench this weekend should John Stones prove his fitness after a knee injury.

Starting place or not, Mori is confident he will be able to handle the pressure of playing in the 225th meeting between the two great Mersey rivals.

"I played in lots of derbies. I scored in one and we won the game.

"The atmosphere of those games is very intense, the people are cheering and screaming and it’s crazy.

"You feel the adrenaline when you play in those games. People are singing the whole 90 minutes and cheering for their team, you are very nervous and excited and it’s very intense at all times."

"It’s a Liverpool derby so it’s going to be intense.

"You’ve got two rivals in the same city. Playing in the River-Boca games means I will maybe be more comfortable playing in the derby.

"It’ll prepare me for them. I’d expect it’s going to be intense and the adrenaline will be high."