Ancelotti relishing Everton's litmus test against champions Liverpool

(Reuters) - A clash against champions Liverpool has come at the right time for Premier League leaders Everton, manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday, as they look to end a decade-long winless drought in the Merseyside derby.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Brighton & Hove Albion - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - October 3, 2020 Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti reacts Pool via REUTERS/Jan Kruger

Everton have been rejuvenated under Ancelotti and they sit top of the standings with a 100% record and are the only Premier League club to win every game in all competitions since the new season began last month.

Everton are looking to win their opening five league matches for the first time since 1938 but have not beaten Liverpool in their last 22 fixtures and Saturday marks 10 years to the day since their last victory.

“I think it will be good for us to have this kind of test. One of the best teams in England for sure,” Ancelotti told reporters. “They were the best last season. It’s a fantastic challenge, a good test for us.

“Everyone knows how important this derby is... how important this game is for this period, we want to keep this period good for the future.”

Although Liverpool were thrashed 7-2 in their last outing against Aston Villa, Ancelotti said that result would have no bearing on how they play this weekend.

“We don’t have to think what happened in the last game, Liverpool play with a lot of intensity and quality,” Ancelotti added.

“This will be the opponent we play tomorrow, so we have to pay attention. We have to be confident to be able to show our quality.”

Ancelotti said he had all his players available but would make a late call on defender Yerry Mina and midfielder James Rodriguez, who played for Colombia in Chile and returned only on Thursday.

“We are going to use this time to recover them. Then we will see in the game,” the Italian manager said.

“(Mina) trained today without problem. He had a little problem in training before the last game but he’s rested and he’s ok for tomorrow.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis