Roberto Martinez believes Everton and Liverpool head into the Merseyside derby in similar shape after stuttering starts to the season.
The previous campaign was a stellar one for both clubs, as Liverpool almost clinched their first Premier League title in 24 years, while Everton mounted a serious challenge for UEFA Champions League qualification before eventually finishing fifth and settling for a place in the Europa League.
The 2014/15 season has not gone to plan so far, with Everton winning just once in their opening five top-flight encounters, while their city rivals have lost three of their games to fall seven points behind leaders Chelsea at this early stage.
Ahead of today’s clash at Anfield, where Everton have not won since 1999 and were hammered 4-0 last season, Martinez believes both clubs are taking time to adjust with new-look squads and a more hectic schedule.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers sees today’s game as an opportunity for his side to put their inconsistent start to the campaign behind them.
“In the league, with us winning two games and losing three, it’s not ideal but this derby gives us an opportunity and provides a platform to go on a good, consistent run. Last season, we had a great spell after our win [in January].
“They’re a good side, with very good players. They’re different to us, but they’ve got a lot of quality. They’ve probably not got the results they’ve wanted, but Roberto is an excellent manager.
“He’s done a great job there and being a derby game, it will be tough for us.”