Roberto Martinez, the Everton manager, has told Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby that though today’s visitors are wealthier, money is no guarantee of success or “happiness” in football.
Martinez considers the financial gulf between the two sides to be “huge”, and in response to the question of whether he envied the resources Brendan Rodgers had at his disposal, said that money was only an accelerant which allowed “overnight” success while real growth had to be organic.
“I always believe money accelerates success,” said Martinez, who was in contention for the Liverpool job before Rodgers was appointed 18 months ago. “Money allows you to get things done overnight but I don’t think money is necessarily what you need to be successful.
“You need to be creative, patient and to have a clear idea of what you are going to do without the money. I don’t think money is the key to finding football happiness.
“Obviously I’m saying that because I’ve been at Swansea, who had the lowest budget in the Championship, and at Wigan, where we achieved what we set out to achieve with what we had. I don’t see it as a way of measuring your happiness. That comes from the responsibility you have at a club, the way you are allowed to work and how you fit into a football club. Those aspects are more important to me than having a bigger budget.”
Liverpool can go top of the Premier League table, at least for a couple of hours, by winning today, while Everton can go level on points with Liverpool in a game which offers more grounds for optimism in both camps than for many years.
“It is a confident derby,” Martinez reflected, “a game which both teams are looking forward to. It’s not like when you are struggling for a win and you feel a little bit inferior. This one is quite unique – two teams with very similar football concepts who have both had a good start to the season and it is a good opportunity for us because we are playing at home. You’re not going into the game with an agenda.”
Liverpool are 11 points better off than they were after 11 games of last season, following their best start to a Premier League campaign in five years. The have scored more league goals in the calendar year – 61 – than any other top-flight team.
But for their part, Everton are unbeaten in the calendar year at Goodison Park in the Premier League – a run of 14 games in which they have conceded only eight goals and kept nine clean sheets.
Rodgers is yet to manage a team to victory over Everton. He lost both games when in charge of Swansea, while Liverpool drew both games with their neighbours last season.
Rodgers is considering giving a derby debut to 20-year-old left-back Jon Flanagan, with Jose Enrique ruled out for up to two months with a knee injury which requires surgery and Aly Cissokho unconvincing in that position so far.