Coutinho unconcerned by 'improved' Everton ahead of derby

LONDON: Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho cannot see his side slipping below local rivals Everton by the end of the season as the teams gear up for a Premier League Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Everton, currently three places behind their fourth-placed city rivals in the league table, can cut the gap to just three points with a victory at Anfield.

Coutinho, who is away on international duty with Brazil, said he was concentrating only on Liverpool's progress.

"I don't think about (Everton's form) or worry about that," Coutinho told the reporters. "We will be ready. The derby is a very special match for everyone, the fans and the players."

Liverpool are unbeaten in Merseyside encounters since 2010 but will face a Ronald Koeman side that have picked up 23 of 30 points since the turn of the year.

Coutinho acknowledged Everton's recent progress and said it would mean a lot more to the fans if Liverpool could find a way to win the derby.

"We know what it means... this time it is even more because Everton have improved so much in recent weeks," he added.

"We know it won't be easy but we know we have to win, for our fans, for our morale and for everybody."

Liverpool have lost just one out of their 14 league games at Anfield this season, scoring 36 goals and conceding 13 in the process.