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Coutinho shares fans’ passion for derby showdown

LIVERPOOL’S Philippe Coutinho is out to continue his unbeaten run in the Merseyside derby, claiming the match is as intense for players as it is for fans.

The Brazil international has scored twice in seven appearances against Everton since joining the Reds in 2013, enjoying two wins and five draws.

He missed the last-gasp victory at Goodison Park in December as he was injured but is keen to reacquaint himself with the fixture this weekend.

‘The rivalry is like any derby — it’s intense,’ said Coutinho, who, along with team-mate Roberto Firmino, is expected to return to Liverpool tomorrow after being flown back by private jet after being on international duty with Brazil.

‘I’ve experienced these games both home and away, and the intensity is equal with the fans. It’s one of the most difficult games and I don’t think this one will be any different.’

With seventh-place Everton just six points behind their hosts, in fourth, Coutinho knows Liverpool cannot afford any mistakes at Anfield.

‘It’s very important. Obviously it’s our aim [to finish in the top four],’ he said.

‘All the games are like finals and if we’re going to achieve our aim we need a lot of points.’

■ 3 — Wins in the last 24 Merseyside derbies for Everton, with the Blues last success at Anfield way back in 1999 when Kevin Campbell scored the winner